Today, Leo Varadkar, the prime minister of Ireland, said that the European Union should be open to “any proposals” that might be brought forward by Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in order to resolve the Brexit deadlock.
In a speech alongside Emmanuel Macron, the President of France in Paris, the Irish PM said that there was still enough time for PM May to present some “credible” solutions.
He stated: “As things stand, the UK will leave the European Union on 12 April without a deal. However, there is still time for the prime minister to come to the European Council with proposals — proposals that are credible, and have a clear pathway to success.”
He added: “I think we need to be open to any proposals that she may bring forward to us.”
However, Varadkar said that the withdrawal agreement itself “cannot be reopened.”
He noted: “But if the United Kingdom changes its red lines, we could make changes to the declaration on the future relationship.”
The Irish PM also said that the European Union needed to decide how it would respond to any requests from the United Kingdom for a longer extension to Brexit. He said that the bloc wanted to avoid a “rolling extension.”
He added: “Any extension must have a clear purpose and a clear plan.”
He reemphasised that any long extension would involve the United Kingdom participating in the upcoming elections of the European Parliament.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Varadkar said that Ireland would have double priorities: protecting the single market of the European Union and protecting the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ushered in 20 years of relative peace and stability in Northern Ireland.
He said that his government was currently in talks with the European Commission regarding the ways on how to achieve both of these objectives.