From top: Michael Barnier and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, Mr Barnier and moderator: Áine Lawlor at an event called “The Brexit Negotiations: State of play and future direction” this afternoon
Dundalk Institute of Technology, County Louth.
The All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit: Fourth Plenary Session featuring the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier.
He said there can be no Brexit withdrawal agreement without a “backstop” option for the Irish border,
Mr Barnier denied claims from Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), that he has been “aggressive” towards Northern Ireland unionists in the Brexit talks.
The DUP leader said earlier that Mr Barnier did not understand the dispute and was not an “honest broker”.
In response, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said he was not ready to engage in “polemics” with Mrs Foster.
He said he had not approached the negotiations in a “spirit of revenge”
From left: Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O Brien, Liberal Democrat former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg, former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine and the Labour Party’s Lord Adonis , Fianna Fail TD Stephen Donnelly
Buswell’s and Leinster House, Dublin 2
The Fianna Fáil-hosted British ‘cross party conference on Brexit and future of Irish Border’ took place with former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine, Liberal Democrat former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg, and the Labour Party’s Lord Adonis in attendance.
Sir Nick, Lord Heseltine and Lord Adonis, all of whom are campaigning to keep the UK in the European Union, are visiting a series of European capitals to shed well-fed tears with like-minded Europhiles.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany yesterday
Varadkar said that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” and that he’s reassured by the depth of support from Germany, the EU’s most populous country.
“Ireland can rely on us,” Merkel said.
In Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk was upbeat about over all progress on Brexit before chairing a two-day summit starting Thursday.
“We have achieved success” on defending the rights of citizens hit hardest by Britain’s departure and the divorce bill that May’s government must pay, Tusk wrote in an invitation letter to the leaders.
He said that May has accepted the idea of “full regulatory alignment between Ireland and Northern Ireland if there is no other possibility to avoid a hard border. This bodes well for the rest of the negotiations.”
From top Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar with Michelle Hennessy (left) and Roseanne RooBeek from Reuters and being interviewed by Axel Threfall on Reuters media about Ireland’s economy and our global presence at Davos, Switzerland.
World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland
Mr Varadkar said he hoped that the ultimate [UK/EU] free trade arrangement could resemble “Norway Plus”, but that it would have to be a “specific” agreement.
The kind of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) envisaged has generally been regarded as following a spectrum between the EU-Canada agreement, which reduces tariffs but has little by way of services, and the EU-Norway arrangement, where Norway has virtually full access to the Single Market, but has to abide by all EU rules and pay into the EU budget.
However, speaking on Bloomberg TV during his first full day at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort, Mr Varadkar said that neither Norway nor Canada were appropriate models.