Ireland won't countenance checks on its exports at European Union ports

Ireland won't countenance checks on its exports at European Union ports

Troy Powers
April 3, 2019

"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".

"Ireland is not going to allow a situation where the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal, drags Ireland out of the single market with it".

He was speaking at a news conference after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

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".

Varadkar stressed there was still time for the British prime minister to come to the European council before 10 April with "credible" proposals, and he said the EU should be open to such proposals.

"We want to avoid a rolling extension - any extension must have a clear objective and plan".

They were speaking before Mrs May announced that she would seek a further Brexit extension and would be willing to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a way forward to "break the logjam" in the House of Commons.

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But as well as Irish commitments to the EU, Varadkar said Ireland had to honour the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended sectarian conflict on the island of Ireland.

Mr Macron told reporters that France and Ireland would be the countries most impacted by a no-deal outcome.

Mr Coveney added that in the case of a no-deal Ireland will have a dual obligation to manage the border issues and also protect the integrity of the European Union single market.

Mr Vardakar will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin on Thursday. "We need to be open to any proposals that she may bring forward to us", adding that as things stood Britain was heading towards a no-deal exit.

"We can not avoid failure for them - a long extension involving the UK's participation in the European elections and in the EU's institutions is far from evident".

Sinn Fein leaders Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill met European Union negotiator Michel Barnier and the European Union parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt for discussions in Brussels on Tuesday. "And we always said also that it would involve hard conversations with the European Commission and they are happening now".