Thu, 18 Oct 2018

Varadkar claims he won’t veto Brexit talks at this stage

By Sheetal Sukhija, Ireland News
13 Nov 2017, 04:43 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland - Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, commenting on Brexit talks, has assured that Ireland will not threaten to use a veto on Brexit talks "at this stage."

He said the veto won’t be used over the lack of progress on the border with Northern Ireland as the government is in a very strong position with all EU member states behind it.

As per the current schedule, Brussels aims at solving three issues broadly before it decides whether talks can move on to a second phase in December. 

The issues will relate to trade, the exit bill, safeguarding expatriate rights and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which will be the U.K.’s only land frontier with the EU after its departure.

This week, after the latest round of negotiations, Ireland said there was still a way to go between the two teams on the border before moving on to trade, raising the possibility that the government could block the sides advancing if it is not satisfied.

Varadkar said, “The question is very much a hypothetical one, we don't know if Ireland will be the only outstanding issue in December. What I'm not going to do at this stage, I'm not going to make ultimatums or threaten to use a veto. The one thing we've managed to do in the 18 months since the (Brexit) referendum is to totally align ourselves with all 27 member states. From Berlin to Bucharest, they're all behind us, and that puts us in a very strong position."

Earlier this week, the Taoiseach sounded a positive note when he said it was likely enough progress would be made by the December 14-15 summit of EU leaders to give a green light.

He said in an interview, “I think the December deadline can be met, I think it is possible to move on to phase two of the talks. We want to do that. But we can't do that until we've sorted out the phase one issues that are particular to Ireland and if we can't sort it out by December, so be it, we'll go into the New Year."

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