Photo by: Annika Haas (EU2017EE)
Leo Varadkar had verified that a deal regarding the Irish border had been agreed by both the European Union and the United Kingdom- before discussions broke down today.
At a press conference, which happened three hours after schedule, the Taoiseach stated that the United Kingdom had “agreed on a text on the border that met our concerns.” This was the agreement that there would be “regulatory alignment” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit, which was offered as a solution to avoid a physical border.
Varadkar said that he then spoke with Donald Tusk and Jean Claude Juncker “and confirmed Ireland’s agreement to that text.”
Varadkar stated: “I am surprised and disappointed that the UK government is not in a position to agree to what was approved today.
“Visibly downbeat, he said the issue of the hard border was “the most difficult issue we faced… this is not a new issue, it has been to the absolutely forefront of Ireland’s concerns… there is no hidden agenda here.”
Varadkar refused to comment if the phone call of Arlene Foster with the Prime Minister had affected the said proceedings.
Varadkar informed reporters: “I don’t think it would be helpful for me to ascribe any blame. It is evident that things broke down, became problematic during the lunch in Brussels.”
However, the EU27 leader did note that it was the “responsibility of any Prime Minister… to ensure they can follow through on agreements that they make.”
While Varadkar said that he accepted that more time was needed to finalise a deal, he insisted that there was “no need to change the text,” stating that he saw no problem with any of the phrases “no divergence,” “convergence,” or “regulatory alignment”.