UK Prime Minister Vows No Return to Hard Border with Ireland

Donald Tusk

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be in Brussels.

He said the announcement would be "interpreted by a lot of people as a decision related to Brexit" and that "uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future".

Speaking in Tokyo yesterday, Mrs Merkel insisted that "from a political point of view, there is still time" to negotiate on the Brexit deal, particularly on "such a precise problem" as the Irish border.

Hardly a ringing endorsement of the Malthouse Compromise proposed by her backbench MPs, which suggests repacking the backstop with technological solutions to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. But she was not able to spell out what changes she was seeking, causing the Irish Government to warn against "unrealistic expectations".

"Nor do I have time for those who believe the verdict passed by the British people in 2016 should be overturned before it is even implemented", she added, referring to the rump of MPs calling for a second referendum.

"The deal we have achieved is the best deal possible, the only deal possible", EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at the time.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, is no longer welcome in Calais, according to the port's chairman, who has been angered by British plans to divert some sea traffic in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Yet, those same Brexit supporters are displeased with how Prime Minister Theresa May has handled the negotiations in Brussels. "It is in all our interests to get to that agreement and for the European Union to say we are not going to even discuss it seems to me to be quite irresponsible".

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This country will be looking to Europe for "major financial assistance" if the United Kingdom crashes out, particularly in the area of agriculture and small enterprises.

They have committed to addressing "the specific challenges of Irish businesses" - but what exactly this means has yet to be defined. Already Business Minister Heather Humphreys has lobbied heavily for a temporary relaxation of state aid rules.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said that various "streams of work" are being investigated and commented: "All of those are being taken forward urgently".

Theresa May addressed the issue on a visit to Belfast on Tuesday as she acknowledged there were concerns among nationalists in Northern Ireland that their rights would be diminished as a result of Brexit.

May is set to return to Brussels this month in an attempt to try and change minds in the EU. He said executives at the firm had "commented on the need for us to come together and resolve the question of our future trade relationship with the European Union".

The DUP would overlook "misgivings" about other aspects of May's deal and support it, Foster said, if the backstop was "dealt with" - though she declined to specify how that would need to happen to secure the party's backing. Writing in "The Sunday Telegraph", she said she would return to Brussels with a "fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination".

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