No guarantee European Union would grant long article 50 extension, says Macron

03 April, 2019, 00:24 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • Coveney Prepare for no-deal Brexit

"The EU can not be held hostage to the resolution of a political crisis in the United Kingdom on a long-term basis", Macron said, adding that granting Britain a lengthy extension of the deadline for leaving the bloc was "not a certainty".

"We don't want Ireland to be a back door to the single market, anymore than anybody wants us to become a back door to the single market", Varadkar said after a meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Before travelling to Paris, Mr Varadkar said his meetings with the French and German leaders demonstrate the 'strong and unwavering European Union solidarity with Ireland in relation to Brexit'.

"That is something that we do not have an agreed plan on but we are working this week and presumably next week on, if we need to, in the context of a no-deal Brexit", Coveney said, referring to meetings with the EU Commission he said had begun last week.

Mr Varadkar said he would also discuss the Republic of Ireland's no-deal plans with Mr Macron.

The meeting between Mr Macron and Mr Varadkar was billed as an opportunity for them to exchange views on Brexit, and the French leader said: "We will never abandon Ireland and the Irish, whatever happens, because that solidarity is the very meaning of the European project".

Speaking to RTE News in Cork, Mr Coveney said: "In the absence of a British Government co-operating in the way that they have committed to, to actually prevent checks on the island of Ireland, well then we need to try to come up with another plan".

The engagements come after the House of Commons again failed to agree on a way forward on Brexit.

Let me repeat this - our priority is the good functioning of the European Union and single market.

He is due to meet with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin on Thursday - with a number of calls scheduled with other European leaders throughout the week. "You've hoped for a long. long time but it seems by accident we're going for a hard Brexit", he said.

The Tánaiste also warned that Ireland will not tolerate a situation where mainland European Union states impose controls on Irish exports.

He described it as the basis for peace between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday he said any no-deal outcome would be of Britain's own making.

Speaking after the indicative votes, Mr Dodds said the only proposition that MPs had ever supported was an amendment - known as the Brady amendment - calling on the government to negotiate changes to the backstop.

"As things stand, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 12 April without a deal".



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