Varadkar has 'constructive talks' with world leaders

Topics included Brexit & the political situation in Northern Ireland & the UK

Varadkar has 'constructive talks' with world leaders

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives at Aras An Uachtaran to receive his Seal of Office from President Michael D Higgins | Image: RollingNews.ie

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he had "constructive talks" with a number of world leaders, during his first full day in office.

He spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

In each case the leaders congratulated him on his election and said they looked forward to working closely with him in the future.

Common interest

Some of the topics discussed included Brexit and the political situation both in Northern Ireland and the UK.

President Macron and the Taoiseach spoke about working together to advance the EU reform agenda, noting that there were many areas of common interest between Ireland and France.

When speaking with Chancellor Merkel, they discussed the Northern Ireland talks and spoke about the renewed closeness of relations between Germany and France being a positive force for the future of the EU.

Finally, the Taoiseach extended the Government's sympathies to British Prime Minister May on the tragic fire in London.

They reiterated the shared objectives of avoiding a hard border, maintaining the common travel area and supporting the Good Friday Agreement.

They also discussed the ongoing political discussions in London and in Belfast, agreeing on the need to have the Northern Ireland Executive up and running as quickly as possible.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister spoke to Leo Varadkar on the phone earlier today to offer her congratulations on becoming Taoiseach.

"The Taoiseach expressed his deepest sympathies for recent tragic events and said the thoughts of the Irish people were with the people of London at this time.

"Both leaders agreed on the importance of continued cooperation between the two countries and the Prime Minister said she was personally committed to a close and special partnership with Ireland as the UK embarks on leaving the European Union.

"They also spoke about a crucial need for the parties in Northern Ireland to come together to form a fully functioning Executive by the 29 June and how both leaders would continue to engage closely on this important issue.

"The Prime Minister also emphasised her steadfast commitment to the Belfast Agreement and its successors and the two leaders agreed to meet in person at the earliest possible opportunity."

 First international calls today: President Macron, Chancellor Merkel and PM Theresa May. Constructive talks.