Strong Irish economy vulnerable to Brexit

Guy Verhofstadt
Image Guy Verhofstadt blamed the EU for Britain quitting the bloc

24 June, 2018

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is convening an informal working meeting on migration and asylum issues in Brussels on Sunday, "in order to work with a group of Heads of State or Government of Member States interested in finding European solutions ahead of the upcoming European Council", said a statement released by the European Commission.

"The greatest challenge we face on this island is to unwrap the enigma, and solve the riddle of Brexit".

European Union leaders will insist on Friday on "the need for intensified efforts" to find a solution, without which the whole withdrawal agreement, or a deal on a transition period until the end of 2020, can not take shape.

Theresa May formally invoked Article 50 in March 2017, marking the start of the two-year countdown to the UK's departure from the European Union and paving the way for the start of negotiations on the terms of British withdrawal.

"The UK is clear that the future customs arrangement needs to deliver on the commitments made in relation to Northern Ireland".

So far Mrs May has largely been able to keep them together, largely by putting off the most hard decisions, but a planned away-day in July for the Brexit "war cabinet" meant to thrash out their differences could become a new flashpoint with unpredictable consequences.

Juncker said Dublin had the support of all other European Union member states, warning against "any temptation to isolate Ireland" in the negotiations.

Mr Juncker said the Republic "will come first" as Europe counts down to the UK's departure from the EU.

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"There is no stronger evidence of how small countries benefit so much from European Union membership and how membership matters". He became emotional during his address as he recalled his late friend and former EU Commissioner, Dubliner Peter Sutherland.

The European Commission president argued that Dublin and Brussels must prepare for a no deal Brexit.

Mr Juncker has raised the prospect of Britain leaving without a deal during his visit to Dublin.

LONDON - Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned Theresa May that "there isn't much time left" to find a solution to the Irish border dilemma which holds the key to a final Brexit deal.

Ahead of Mr Juncker's arrival in Dublin, the Taoiseach said: "This is an important opportunity to assess the state of play in the Brexit negotiations. This is a selfish interest".

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".

On Friday President Juncker met Irish president Michael D Higgins at his official residence in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

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