Taoiseach says it's too early to say whether Brexit talks can proceed to next phase

Leo Varadkar was at Downing Street earlier today for a meeting with Theresa May

Taoiseach says it's too early to say whether Brexit talks can proceed to next phase

Leo Varadkar and Theresa May during a bilateral meeting in Downing Street, London. Picture by: Hannah McKay/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 20.40

The Taoiseach says it is too early to say if enough progress has been made for Brexit negotiations to move to their next phase.

Leo Varadkar was speaking at Downing Street, following a meeting & lunch with the British Prime Minister Theresa May.

EU leaders will decide at their October summit if the negotiations can move to a post-Brexit trade deal.

The Taoiseach said Theresa May wants to move on - but more is needed from the UK first.

He told reporters: "[Moving on] is of course going to be a decision that we make collectively as the 27 European member states that are remaining."

Today's meeting between the two leaders is also said to have focused on "restoring the Assembly in Northern Ireland, how to maintain the Common Travel Area and protect the Peace Process, and avoid a return to any border".

In a statement this afternoon, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister made clear how the UK will be the strongest friend and partner to the EU after we leave the EU and how maintaining the reciprocal arrangements for the Common Travel Area and the citizenship rights guaranteed by the Belfast Agreement were at heart of our approach."

The meeting came only days after Mrs May delivered a major speech in Florence about her government's Brexit stance.

She insisted her government will never accept any physical infrastructure on the Irish border, and called for a transition deal to be put in place while the details of Britain’s final exit from the bloc are hammered out.

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned that Mrs May's speech failed to provide any clarity on the issue of the Irish border - but added it was overall a 'constructive' speech.

Meanwhile, Mr Barnier is leading the EU side in a fresh round of negotiations which got underway earlier today.

Speaking as talks commenced, the UK's Brexit secretary David Davis said: "We expect this to be a busy week. One that will set us on the important path towards our future partnership.

"We are laying out concrete proposals and there are no excuses for standing in the way of progress. It will take pragmatism on both sides to make headway, and I hope we can achieve that this week."