Scenes from the meeting between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels, Belgium last night
Leo Varadkar and EU chiefs have given Theresa May two more months to come up with a Brexit solution or face getting turfed out of Europe with no deal.
This would be disastrous for both Ireland and the UK and would almost certainly see the return of a hard border between North and South.
However, the 27 remaining EU heads of State on Wednesday were supportive of Ms May in her efforts.
Ms May will have to come forward with fresh proposals at the next summit in mid-December outlining the British position ahead of formal Brexit in March.
…the Prime Minister acknowledges the European Union’s backstop drafted in the December withdrawal agreement can not feature an end date.
Senior EU officials revealed Mrs May made the admission to Leo Varadkar before briefing the remaining EU leaders on her latest Brexit strategy.
Mr Varadkar insisted a “legally operative backstop” that would come into effect immediately after the transition period must still be included in the withdrawal agreement in order for it to be acceptable to Ireland.
This has remained a Brussels demand as the bloc’s leaders seek assurances Brexit will not create a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Mr Varadkar did, however, move to offer the Prime Minister an opportunity to make the backstop more palatable in Westminster by using creative wording.
“There can’t be a time-limit to it,” said one official. “But we can try to find a wording to show it’ll never be used.”