Ireland: Varadkar and Johnson's meeting to be kept secret as Barnier warns still no basis for a Brexit deal - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland Varadkar and Johnson's meeting to be kept secret as Barnier warns still no basis for a Brexit deal

10:00  10 october  2019
10:00  10 october  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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Mr Johnson ’ s hopes of securing a deal in time for the summit on October 17 and 18 could now rest on a crunch meeting with Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar . Earlier, Government sources said that Mr Johnson was planning an emergency Saturday sitting of Parliament following the summit to be held

Johnson and Varadkar have opted to meet on “neutral” territory in the north-west of England rather than What might Johnson do when MPs gather for Brexit showdown? Barnier also suggested Johnson needed to rein in the Downing Street aide responsible for accusing the German chancellor

Boris Johnson, Leo Varadkar are posing for a picture: On the verge: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a visit to Dublin. Photo: Collins © Colin Keegan, Collins Agency, Dublin On the verge: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a visit to Dublin. Photo: Collins

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s meeting tomorrow in England is being kept secret at the behest of Downing Street it has emerged.

The Taoiseach’s spokesman tonight said the Prime Minister’s office has asked that details of the meeting -  21 days out from the Brexit deadline - should be kept from the public.

The Taoiseach’s Office has refused to give any information on where the meeting with Mr Johnson will take place despite significant public interest.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar will meet for talks later to discuss the UK' s Brexit proposals. Downing Street said the meeting was to allow "detailed discussions" on the process of securing a deal . Mr Johnson has said he remains "cautiously optimistic" about a deal .

BORIS Johnson is fighting for a last chance to salvage a Brexit deal after Angela Merkel derailed the government' s plan. The Prime Minister will meet But a hardline response from Irish PM Leo Varadkar has led to Brussels bosses pouring cold water on his plan - setting the tone for who is to blame for a

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A statement issued by the Government Information Services said the two leaders at the centre of Brexit negotiations will meet tomorrow in the "North West of England".

"The meeting will be private to allow both leaders and their teams to have detailed discussions about the process for securing agreement for a Brexit deal," the statement read.

At a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting tonight the Taoiseach said the meeting would be held in Cheshire in England.

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If Johnson can convince Varadkar to move, there is a chance a deal could be outlined ahead of the crucial summit of EU leaders Oct. 17-18. Barnier also criticized the U.K.’s plan to give the Northern Ireland Assembly a veto over the deal . Johnson ’ s team say it’s vital to allow the region’s community

Boris Johnson urges Varadkar to keep Brexit talks alive. Tory party faces split over any no- deal election manifesto. Jean-Claude Juncker warned that Brussels will not take the blame for a no- deal Brexit , while saying that he still holds out hope that an agreement can be reached with Boris Johnson .

However, the Taoiseach’s spokesman refused to reveal any further details on the meeting despite attempts by the Irish media to report on the crucial meeting.

The spokesman said it had been agreed with Downing Street that the media would not be told where the meeting will take place.

It is not expected they will take any questions from the media or make a joint statement as is normal when two prime ministers meet.

This comes after the Taoiseach said that the British government's position on Brexit and Northern Ireland is causing "great difficulty" in reaching a deal.

He also said any solution on the border issue must have the backing of the people in Northern Ireland.

The Taoiseach, addressing questions about a series of anonymous briefings from within Downing Street, said there has not been any changes to the EU's negotiating position.

EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier speaks during a plenary session on preparations for the next EU leaders' summit, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman © Thomson Reuters EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier speaks during a plenary session on preparations for the next EU leaders' summit, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

It emerged earlier this week that in an anonymous briefing sent to The Spectator, a Downing Street official revealed how the British government plans to avoid the Benn Act and how talks with the EU will break down leading to a no-deal exit.

Speaking in the Dail, Mr Varadkar said: "I don't think much of an anonymous briefing whether they come from Downing Street or if they come from my own ranks, quite frankly.

"There hasn't been any change to the EU negotiating position, we signed our guidelines to the Council meetings, and they haven't changed and they certainly cannot change until the summit next week.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - OCTOBER 04:  Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar looks on during a biking tour with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen through the Danish capital on October 4, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. After their tour the two Prime Ministers will have lunch together and hold a press conference. Highest on the agenda for this one day visit will be Brexit, but also other issues will be discussed. One of these is climate change and how to ensure that the EU takes the lead. One of the reasons for the visit is that Ireland is opening a new trade office in Copenhagen. (Photo by Ole Jensen/Getty Images) © 2019 Ole Jensen COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - OCTOBER 04: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar looks on during a biking tour with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen through the Danish capital on October 4, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. After their tour the two Prime Ministers will have lunch together and hold a press conference. Highest on the agenda for this one day visit will be Brexit, but also other issues will be discussed. One of these is climate change and how to ensure that the EU takes the lead. One of the reasons for the visit is that Ireland is opening a new trade office in Copenhagen. (Photo by Ole Jensen/Getty Images)

"As far as the Irish Government is concerned, we do want to deal, we're willing to work hard to get a deal, to work until the last moment to get a deal, but certainly not at any cost.

"We are absolutely open to proposals that will take into account the democratic wishes and the views of the people of Northern Ireland in relation to consent and relation to democracy.

"But we need to make sure that any such arrangements are workable. It is a sad fact that the Northern Ireland Assembly hasn't met for three years, and has only met for about half the time that's been in existence.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to welcome the President of the European Parliament David Sassol in London, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to welcome the President of the European Parliament David Sassol in London, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

"We also need to bear in mind that the people of Northern Ireland voted by a clear majority to remain in the European Union, that the people of Northern Ireland, when asked, said they were in favour of the backstop that was negotiated with Prime Minister (Theresa) May's government.

"Any solution that we come to, and any solution that I can recommend to this House, has to have support from the people of Northern Ireland, and the people of Northern Ireland have given their views on this, that they don't want to leave the European Union, that they would accept the backstop, that they don't support proposals currently on the table from the British Government.

Mr Varadkar said part of the difficulty is the UK's position that Northern Ireland must leave the EU customs union.

A truck races past a sign against the reestablishment of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. People in Ireland are reacting with dismay and disbelief at the latest reports of Britain's proposed alternative to the Irish backstop, with preliminary papers suggesting the UK government will propose customs a few miles away from the border. (AP Photo/David Keyton) © ASSOCIATED PRESS A truck races past a sign against the reestablishment of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. People in Ireland are reacting with dismay and disbelief at the latest reports of Britain's proposed alternative to the Irish backstop, with preliminary papers suggesting the UK government will propose customs a few miles away from the border. (AP Photo/David Keyton)

He claimed it has adopted this position whether the people of Northern Ireland "like it or not".

He added: "That creates huge difficulties for us because we want there to be a deal that respects the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland, and indeed the people in this Republic too."

Meanwhile, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said there is still no basis for a deal on Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Ahead of next week's crucial EU summit, Mr Barnier said they had yet to see any "operational, legally binding solution" to the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop.

Addressing the European Parliament in Brussels, he said Boris Johnson's proposals to avoid the return of a hard border with the Irish Republic were based on a system "that hasn't been properly developed, that hasn't been tested".

FOLKESTONE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: A lorry marked with © 2019 Getty Images FOLKESTONE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: A lorry marked with "Discordia", which is the Greek Goddess of Strife, passes through the "pitstop" area, ahead of boarding the trains to France, on October 03, 2019 in Folkestone, England. The area is for EU paperwork and vehicle safety checks and was completed ahead of the previous Brexit date on March 29, but is now in place for the next proposed departure date of October 31. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed what he claims to be a plan to resolve the issue of the island of Ireland which would see Northern Ireland stay in the European single market for goods but leave the customs union. Opponents say this will lead to instability for businesses and threaten the peace brought to the region through the Good Friday Agreement. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Earlier, UK government sources said that Mr Johnson was planning an emergency Saturday sitting of Parliament following the summit to be held on October 19.

It is thought the British Prime Minister could use the occasion to force a showdown with MPs determined to block a no-deal Brexit.

In his address to MEPs, Mr Barnier said the EU side would continue to work in a "calm" and "constructive" manner to try to find an agreement.

But he made clear that Mr Johnson's blueprint - which would require the return of customs checks on the island of Ireland - was not the basis for a solution.

"To put things very frankly, though, and to try and be objective, (at) this particular point, we are not really in a position where we are able to find an agreement," he said.

"The proposal of the British government as things stand is not something we can accept. It replaces an operational, practical, legal solution with one that is simply a temporary solution."

Following a series of acrimonious exchanges between London and Brussels on Tuesday, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told the parliament that they would not get drawn into a "blame game".

"Personally I don't exclude a deal. We are, Michel and myself, working on a deal. And we are not accepting this blame game which started in London," he said.

"We will see in the next coming days how things will develop."

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I was worried EU might turn on Ireland during Brexit, says Varadkar .
The Irish premier Leo Varadkar said the European family, when it sticks together, is very powerful. “I think we have demonstrated that when it comes to Brexit, the way the 27 member states stuck together and defended its others’ interests.What next for Brexit? Follow key developments, expert analysis and multiple perspectives as the UK edges closer to leaving the EU“I hope and I expect, and I intend to work on this, that we can extend this into other things.

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