Leo Varadkar: Brexit deal by next week ‘very difficult’

The two leaders will meet for talks this week

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Negotiating a new Brexit deal in time for next week’s crucial Brussels summit will be “very difficult”, Leo Varadkar has warned the Prime Mininster.

The Irish leader will meet with Boris Johnson for crunch talks later this week to discuss how to avoid a no deal withdrawal.

Mr Johnson’s chances of a breakthrough with the EU were looking increasingly unlikely yesterday after Number 10 accused the EU of making it “increasingly impossible” for Britain to leave with a deal.

Talks reportedly came close to collapse yesterday when European Council president Donald Tusk hit out at the Prime Minister on Twitter for engaging in a “stupid blame game”.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar said Ireland and the EU would not accept an agreement at “any cost”.

“There are some fundamental objectives that haven't changed for the past three years and we need them guaranteed,” he told Irish broadcaster RTE news.

“I think it is going to be very difficult to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly.”

Despite the Brexit deadline falling on October 31, Mr Johnson needs to secure a deal by October 19 if he is to avoid being required to seek an extension to Article 50.

However, a series of Downing Street briefings have claimed German chancellor Angela Merkel had made clear a deal was now "overwhelmingly unlikely".

Sources from Number 10 claimed Mrs Merkel had told the PM that Britain could not leave the EU unless it was prepared to leave Northern Ireland behind in a permanent customs union.

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