Juncker to visit Dublin amid Irish border differences…


Ireland and the EU must prepare for a no deal Brexit while they wait for "more answers" from the United Kingdom on how it proposes to solve the Northern Ireland border conundrum, said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

I am strongly against any temptation to try to isolate Ireland and not to conclude a deal on Ireland.

"Ireland has to be part of the deal", he said.

It is two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union, setting in train the most momentous constitutional upheaval of the post-war era.

EU leaders will meet in Brussels next week for the European Council's latest summit, with Brexit set to be one of the issues on the agenda.

This morning he is due to address a joint sitting of both houses of the Irish parliament, the Oireachtas.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will attend the British-Irish Council summit in the Channel Islands later today. "It remains our intention to achieve a close economic partnership that does not require the backstop to be in operation".

Advances have been made in a number of areas, such as customs, Value-Added Tax and nuclear waste regulation, European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said, but "a lot more work" needs to be done to meet the October deadline.

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EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier greets Ireland's Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker as he arrives at Government buildings in Dublin, Ireland June 21, 2018.

He will also watch a demonstration of Gaelic football and hurling.

A time-limited "backstop" option agreed in principle but not in detail between Britain and the European Union has been interpreted by Europe as meaning Northern Ireland would effectively stay within the bloc's regulatory rules on issues like customs to preserve the now invisible and frictionless border arrangements.

He also said no deal was as good as being in the European Union as he toured Dublin accompanied by chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

The EU hopes a final version of the withdrawal agreement, together with a political declaration on the future relationship between London and the EU, can be approved by October so that it can be ratified by the Brexit deadline of the end of March 2019.

"And it's not looking good going forward either".

"The backstop paper has been amended and now expresses, in much more detail, the time limited nature of our proposal - something the prime minister and David Davis have always been committed to".

"That means businesses up and down the country will be left in the lurch right up until the last minute, while those in Ireland wait to find out whether this government wants to safeguard their fragile peace settlement".