As the informal EU summit in Austria continues today, there are more comments regarding the Brexit deal that UK Prime Minister Theresa May is selling. There are still notable different in the issue of Irish border. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will brief the leaders of the 27 nations today and a unified position should be reached afterwards. For now, comments from EU officials suggested that they’re working towards deal, rather than away from it.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar met with May this morning. He said afterwards that “Ireland is a country that obviously wants to avoid a no deal scenario, we want to avoid a no deal Brexit, (but) we are preparing for that. Also, “we need to double our efforts over the next couple of weeks to make sure that we have a deal.”
Varadkar added that a “political border” does exist between Ireland and Northern Ireland. And “what we want to avoid is any new barriers to the movement of goods, any new barriers to trade, any new barriers to the movement of people”.
French President Emmanuel Macron said “we have very clear principles regarding the integrity of the single market and regarding precisely the Irish border. It was precise in March and it was endorsed by the 27 members. So, we have to find collectively and we need a UK proposal precisely preserving this backstop in the framework of a withdrawal agreement.”
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said “it is necessary to make all the steps because the proposals are not enough in order to have an agreement.”
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said “I fully believe that we will be able to find an agreement” and “It’s a compromise from both sides, it’s not on one side.”
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said “both sides are aware that they will only reach a solution if they move towards each other.”