European Union leaders anxious over Irish border issue in Brexit talks: draft

Leo Varadkar

The strength in opinion carried across political divides.

However, Brexiteers appear unfazed by the threat issued by Mr Daly and are have said leaving the European Union is more important than Northern Ireland remaining in the EU.

Britain and the European Union want to keep a free flow of people and goods over the border without returning to checkpoints, symbols of the three decades of violence in Northern Ireland that was largely ended by a 1998 peace deal.

The Government says it wants agreement on all the withdrawal issues by the time of the October EU summit, however there are severe doubts that that can be achieved.

A time-limited "backstop" option agreed in principle but not in detail between Britain and the European Union has been interpreted by Europe as meaning Northern Ireland would effectively stay within the bloc's regulatory rules on issues like customs to preserve the now invisible and frictionless border arrangements.

Across Great Britain, 62 per cent of respondents said Brexit negotiations were proceeding too slowly, with 30 per cent blaming the delays on "politicians in Britain who want a soft Brexit or to stop Brexit altogether".

After his talks with the prime minister, allies of Mr Davis immediately claimed victory by insisting "much more detail" would be provided on the time-limited nature of the government's backstop proposal.

The council will also talk about the political situation in Northern Ireland and Mr Varadkar is expected to reiterate his regret that no Northern Ireland ministers will be at the British-Irish Council summit.

"I am strongly against any temptation to try to isolate Ireland".

More news: First Signs Of Strain Show Between English Team And Their Media

"A withdrawal agreement without a backstop is of no use whatsoever", he said.

"The European Council renews its call upon Member States and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes", the draft said.

He was applauded as he told members of the Dail and Seanad that "Ireland will come first" in the Brexit negotiations.

Mr Junker will receive an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland and attend an official dinner hosted by Mr Varadkar in Dublin Castle later on Thursday.

The Brexiteer Democratic Unionists criticised Mr Juncker's comments on Brexit, accusing the European Union of using Ireland as a "bargaining chip" in the negotiations. "This is a selfish interest".

With British Prime Minister Theresa May struggling to agree a position on Brexit within her own government, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the focus needed to move from London to Brussels and that May had to honour her border commitments.

On Friday, he will meet Irish President Michael D Higgins and visit the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Croke Park, and the GAA museum.

"The withdrawal agreement must include a legally binding backstop so that there can not be a hard border on the island of Ireland in the future", Varadkar said., adding "a backstop cannot have an expiry date".

Mr Coveney added: "Let's be very clear - there will be no withdrawal agreement, no transition agreement and no managed Brexit if the United Kingdom don't follow through on their commitments".

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