Irish PM to discuss No-Deal Brexit Preparations with European leaders

Irish PM to discuss No-Deal Brexit Preparations with European leaders

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will travel to Brussels this week to discuss no-deal Brexit preparations and a possible package of supports for Ireland with the heads of the European Commission and Council.

Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister of Ireland, will spend the first week of February in Brussels meeting with Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission.

Varadkar will meet with Tusk and Juncker on February 6 to discuss preparations for a no-deal Brexit in the event that the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified. According to Reuters, Varadkar will use Wednesday’s meetings to discuss Ireland’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit, including the support that may be needed given the potential impact of a hard Brexit in Ireland.

The meeting was prompted by the latest developments in the British Parliament – on January 31, British lawmakers instructed Prime Minister Theresa May to reopen her Brexit treaty with the EU to replace the backstop. The backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, received support both from Dublin and Brussels, and the proposition was promptly rejected.

“They are expected to discuss the latest developments in London. The Taoiseach (prime minister) will use the opportunity once again to thank the institutions, and the other Member States, for their continuing support for Ireland,” the Irish government said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Varadkar said that he had already alerted the European Commission that the country will seek emergency aid for companies if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. Seeking other potential EU aid and domestic sources of emergency funding are also on the table, Varadkar added.

Following Varadkar’s visits to the European Commission and European Councils, EU officials will fly to Dublin to continue discussions with the Irish Government, the Irish Times reported. The discussions will reportedly focus on no-deal preparations. Many have speculated that the delegation will discuss implementing measures that would protect the single market if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. However, officials from both Dublin and Brussels have repeatedly stated that the meeting in Ireland is part of a series of the commission’s visits to all European capitals.

Meanwhile, Simon Coveney, the deputy Prime Minister and foreign affairs minister, will travel to Washington DC to address the growing concerns Congress has about Brexit.

(Banner image: Wikimedia Commons)

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