Newstalk
Newstalk

12.30 17 May 2018


Share this article


The Taoiseach has said the Government will need to question whether there will be a Brexit withdrawal agreement at all if there's no substantial progress by June.

The final deadline for an agreement between the UK and EU is October, but European leaders are set to review progress next month.

As the Brexit negotiations continue, Leo Varadkar is meeting Theresa May on the sidelines of an EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia today.

Leo Varadkar, right, meets with British PM Theresa May, left, on the sidelines of an EU and Western Balkan heads of state summit in Sofia. Picture by: Virginia Mayo/AP/Press Association Images

Speaking in the Bulgarian capital ahead of that meeting, the Taoiseach said: "By June, we need to see substantial progress - as the Tánaiste and myself have seen on many occasions.

"The deadline, of course, for the withdrawal agreement is October - but if we're not making real, substantial progress by June, then we need to seriously question whether we're going to have a withdrawal agreement at all."

Backstop

He also said he has yet to see anything 'remotely approaching' an alternative to the so-called 'backstop' agreement to avoid a hard border.

The 'backstop' refers to an earlier deal reached between the UK and EU in December, saying a “common regulatory area” will be established in Northern Ireland following Brexit if no other solutions to the border issue can be found.

Mr Varadkar said: "We stand by the same position that we've had for a very long time now - that there can be no withdrawal agreement without the backstop, and we need that backstop to ensure there's no hard border.

"If the United Kingdom wants to put forward alternatives to that - whether it's an alternative text to the backstop, or whether it's some sort of alternative future relationship between the UK and the EU - we're willing to examine that."

However, he stressed: "We need to see it written down in black & white - we need to know that's it's workable and legally operable... and we've yet to see anything that remotely approaches that."


Share this article


Read more about

News

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-07:00

Share

Up next

TEAM 33

TEAM 33

07:00-08:00

Share

BEST OF BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BEST OF BREAKFAST BUSINESS

08:00-08:30

Share

BEST OF THE PAT KENNY SHOW

BEST OF THE PAT KENNY SHOW

08:30-09:30

Share

YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP

YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP

09:30-10:00

Share

DOWN TO BUSINESS

DOWN TO BUSINESS

10:00-12:00

Share

FUTUREPROOF

FUTUREPROOF

12:00-13:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

13:00-18:00

Share

THE PICTURE SHOW

THE PICTURE SHOW

18:00-19:00

Share

TED RADIO HOUR

TED RADIO HOUR

19:00-20:00

Share

The Peter Casey Report

The Peter Casey Report

20:00-21:00

Share

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWST...

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWSTALK

21:00-22:00

Share

YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP.

YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP.

22:00-22:30

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

22:30-23:30

Share

FUTUREPROOF

FUTUREPROOF

23:30-00:00

Share

FUTUREPROOF

FUTUREPROOF

00:00-00:15

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:15-07:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on