Published: Sun, April 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

'Still a chance for Brexit deal', Germany's Merkel says

'Still a chance for Brexit deal', Germany's Merkel says

Ms Merkel travelled to Dublin on Thursday to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin's Farmleigh House to discuss Brexit, and show solidarity with Ireland amid the Brexit negotiations.

After what she called a "very moving" meeting with representatives of border communities, the chancellor said she would work "until the very last hour" to secure a Brexit deal.

"On the German side, and here we are in full agreement with Ireland, we want good, intensive relations", she stressed.

Asked whether she believed Ireland could protect the European Union single market without a hard border with Northern Ireland, Merkel said: "We will simply have to be able to do this".

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister whose deal to leave the European Union has been rejected in the British parliament three times already, has turned to the opposition Labour Party in a last-ditch attempt to pass the divorce terms that she signed with the leaders of the European Union last November.

Meanwhile, it emerged that less than half of the 84,000 Irish companies that trade with Britain have applied for a customs number to continue doing so after Brexit, prompting the tax authority to warn they could be cut off if London leaves Europe without a deal. We have to be successful and we hope for a solution that we can agree together with Britain.

"I think anyone who was there couldn't help but be impressed by her".

"None of us want no deal next week but we also want to avoid rolling extensions because that just adds to the uncertainty so perhaps a longer extension might make more sense", Varadkar told Irish national broadcaster.

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"We tend to operate by consensus and certainly that can take time and sometimes it is messy but it's actually how the European Union works and it's why it works, and if one country was to veto an extension and, as a result, impose hardship on us, real problems for the Dutch and Belgians and French as neighbouring countries ... they wouldn't be forgiven for it and they would know they might find themselves on the other end of that veto power in the future - so it is extremely unlikely that I could see any country vetoing it".

"There are three ways that we know to achieve that but if all three are rejected that obviously puts us in a hard position", he said.

"We need to be patient and understanding of the predicament that they are in".

Taoiseach Mr Varadkar said that any further extension to Article 50 must have a credible and realistic way forward.

Mr Varadkar said two counts would have to be run in Ireland if the United Kingdom made a decision to contest the European elections - one to determine the results on the basis of 11 seats, and the other on the basis of 13.

Mr Varadkar said patience is needed with Westminster where the Brexit debate continues to play out.

The 15 people from north and south the the border region who met Ms Merkel included a peace worker from Belfast who lost close family members in a bomb attack and a woman from Derry who also lost her husband during the Troubles.

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