#Brexit – ‘There would be enormous hostility to a further extension’ Varadkar

| June 20, 2019

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (pictured) told journalists that he looked forward to working with the UK’s next prime minister whoever he is. He said that any discussions would take place between the EU and the UK, not between the UK and Ireland. This was aimed at refuting a claim by at least one Conservative candidate for British prime minister that the UK could resolve the question of the Irish border by negotiating on a bilateral basis with Ireland.

Varadkar restated the oft-repeated mantra of European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier that there would be no reopening of the withdrawal agreement, but that amendments to the political declaration would be considered.

Given that the comments of Boris Johnson, the leading candidate for the post, implied that there would be an implementation period in a ‘no deal’ scenario, Varadkar said that there is no withdrawal agreement without a backstop and no implementation period without a withdrawal agreement.

Asked about the possibility of an extension, Varadkar said while his patience was endless “there would be enormous hostility to a further extension”. The only instance where this might happen is if there is a general election or second referendum – he said that it would not be entertained for further negotiations or further indicative votes, saying “the time for that has long since passed”.

Varadkar was also asked about the decision of the European Commission to publish its mapping exercise of North/South co-operation. He said that it sketches the large number of areas where there is cooperation and shows how relations go well beyond just trade matters. He said that this was also part of the Good Friday Agreement’s commitment to increased co-operation between Northern Ireland and Ireland, an agreement that both Ireland and the UK’s government have agreed to through this international treaty.

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Category: A Frontpage, Brexit, EU, Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK

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