Taoiseach says not enough progress made to progress Brexit talks

He said he is "very confident" Ireland will not have to use a veto

Taoiseach says not enough progress made to progress Brexit talks

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar shakes hands while meeting British Prime Minister Theresa May at No 10 Downing Street, London in June 2017 | Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said not enough progress has been made on key issues in Brexit talks to move them forward.

EU negotiators have long-warned that talks cannot move on to the UK's future trading relationship with the EU until "sufficient progress" is made on three key issues: the border, citizens rights and the so-called Brexit bill.

Responding to questions in the Dáil on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said: "Much progress is being made on the financial settlement but it has not yet been agreed.

"None of the three items on which sufficient agreement is required before we can move to phase two have reached the necessary point.

"Progress is being made but insufficiently so at this stage."

He said the Government is "in very regular contact" with other foreign ministers and leaders, adding: "Solidarity remains very strong with Ireland and our specific issues regarding to avoiding a hard border.

"I am very confident that the European Council will operate by consensus and there will be no need to use or threaten to use a veto because we have and will continue to have the support of our European colleagues on the issue of the border."

Last week, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc had "strong solidarity" with Ireland.

It comes amid reports that the UK could end up paying an EU "divorce bill" of up to €55bn, prompting the threat of a Brexit backlash against Prime Minister Theresa May.

Officials close to the talks were reported as saying there was a broad agreement on a framework for the UK to settle liabilities expected to total around €45bn-55bn.