Ireland: Varadkar warns time is running out as UK tables backstop plans - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland Varadkar warns time is running out as UK tables backstop plans

08:50  20 september  2019
08:50  20 september  2019 Source:   independent.ie

EU's Juncker: No 'emotional attachment' to Brexit backstop

EU's Juncker: No 'emotional attachment' to Brexit backstop One of the EU's most senior figures has said he has "no emotional attachment" to the part of the Brexit deal Britain is trying to get Brussels to remove. But Jean Claude Juncker, the bloc's Commission president, insisted he would "stand by the objectives" the Irish backstop - the insurance policy to prevent a hard border forming on the island of Ireland - was "designed to achieve". He repeated a call for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make "concrete, operational, textual proposals" on alternatives to replace it.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in Brussels for a two-day summit at which EU leaders will warn the UK that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and the two-year transition are at risk if London does not make more progress on agreeing the so-called backstop to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said it is unrealistic to expect the backstop to avoid a hard border to apply to the UK as a whole. His comments are the most forthright rejection of the UK 's backstop offer of 7 June, which would foresee the UK as a He added: " Time is running out . The Taoiseach said what he called desktop-based contingency planning for a no-deal scenario was on an east-west

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned the UK there is "no time to waste" after some documents aimed at ending the Brexit impasse were finally tabled.

However, there is growing concern at EU level that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes a deal can be sealed at a meeting on October 17 without the main constituents being in place beforehand.

Leaders from across Europe will meet in Brussels on that date to try to finally settle the Brexit debate.

The proposals put forward by the UK are understood to include a series of alternative arrangements that when combined could act as an alternative to the backstop.

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A UK -wide backstop ? After the DUP's objections, Mrs May agreed a backstop involving the whole of the UK retaining a very close relationship with the EU - staying in the customs union - for an indefinite period.

However, he pointed out that the backstop was also designed to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the rights of citizens in Northern Ireland. Mr Varadkar said it was a possibility that the backstop would apply to Northern Ireland only, adding that such a scenario would not go down well with the

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)

There is considerable scepticism on the Irish side that they will be enough to prevent some sort of checks being needed - but the details have to be studied.

"If the objectives are met - all of them - then we don't need the backstop. It was a guarantee, not an aim by itself," said EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) He added that a no-deal Brexit would have "catastrophic consequences" so he will "do everything" to get a deal.

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" Backstop means backstop ," he said. "The temporary backstop is not in line with what we want or what Under the proposals thrashed out by Mrs May in tense meetings with Brexit- backing Mr Barnier warned that " time is moving on", with less than three weeks to go to the 28 June EU leaders'

British ministers appeared to back a Brexit plan at May's Chequers residence on July 6. The proposal would have kept Britain in a "combined customs territory" with the EU and signed up to a "common rulebook" on all goods. That went too far for British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and Brexit

Mr Johnson said yesterday that "some progress" is being made and welcomed Mr Juncker's statement that he was not "emotionally attached" to the backstop.

"That is progress, because they weren't saying that a month ago," Mr Johnson said.

A number of EU leaders have now expressed concern about the looming deadline with some backing the idea that the UK should be told to produce its full proposal by September 30.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) Mr Varadkar did not go that far but said a huge amount of work would need to be done in advance of the mid-October summit.

"That's the opportunity to come to an agreement. But the way Europe works, is that really has to be teed up before the meeting.

"It's not going to happen at 5am with 27 prime ministers and their teams trying to write up a treaty. That's not the way these things are done," he said.

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Leo Varadkar said while he and other EU leaders would work to provide assurances to the UK in terms of future relations, there could be no question of We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop , but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification. As time is running out , we

EMMANUEL Macron today set Boris Johnson an 11-day deadline to table his Brexit plan - as Jean-Claude Juncker warned him time is running out to strike His remarks came as Ireland’s deputy PM Simon Coveney revealed he’s been holding secret meetings with British ministers about a backstop

While the key figures appeared to be toning down the rhetoric of recent weeks, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay used a speech in Madrid to warn that Ireland would be badly affected by a disorderly exit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)

Mr Barclay said two-thirds of Irish medicines come through Great Britain, 40pc of exports to through Dover and supermarkets are supplied from distribution centres in England.

"Yet this is presented as solely a UK challenge, it is a mutual challenge, because if indeed there were two-and-a-half days of delays at Calais, then the impact would not solely be felt within the UK, it would be felt in Ireland and indeed in businesses in Spain," he said.

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships, Mr Varadkar said he was "confident that we won't have any difficulty in terms of balancing supplies, and there will absolutely be food on the shelves".

He said some British brands may not be available but other foods would.

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Mr Varadkar warned that time is short to come up with a withdrawal agreement with a transition period and a framework for a new arrangement with a backstop , and "people need to get on with it." Mr Varadkar said Mrs May’s White Paper on Brexit was an evolution from previous positions.

That is because if the backstop took effect, Northern Ireland alone would align with the EU single market in He warned of the dangers of violence returning in Northern Ireland, if physical checks or infrastructure As time is running out , we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario.

"People don't need to be concerned about that," the Taoiseach said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images) Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called for the EU to stop antagonising the UK.

He argued there had been too much "megaphone diplomacy and triumphalism", adding that both sides need to take a "step back".

"Political games are over, one-upmanship has to be over," he said.

"In my view there are clear ideas as to where this is heading, it is heading towards a Northern Ireland-specific solution. The difficulty will be in finalising that, but that's where it is heading.

"I think Brussels knows that, I think the Irish Government knows that, I think the British government knows that."

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Varadkar 'not optimistic' Johnson will have realistic fix for Brexit .
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is "not particularly optimistic" that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will present realistic proposals for achieving a Brexit deal next week. It comes as the EU heaped pressure on Mr Johnson to put forward ideas to break the deadlock over his wish to scrap the backstop to avoid a hard Border. It comes as the EU heaped pressure on Mr Johnson to put forward ideas to break the deadlock over his wish to scrap the backstop to avoid a hard Border.

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