Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at a press conference he held with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 4 April 2019 | Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Ireland’s Varadkar: EU veto on Brexit extension ‘extremely unlikely’
Leaders who block another delay ‘wouldn’t be forgiven,’ says Leo Varadkar.
Updated 4/6/19, 4:37 PM CET
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Saturday he considered it highly unlikely that EU leaders would veto a proposal to grant Britain another extension in the Brexit process.
Any EU country that vetoes an extension and, as a result, causes economic and political harm to other member states particularly vulnerable to a no-deal Brexit — including Ireland, but also the Netherlands, Belgium and France — “wouldn’t be forgiven for it,” the Irish leader told broadcaster RTÉ.
They would “know they might find themselves on the other end of that particular veto power in the future,” he added.
He also conceded that a veto is “always a possibility” and acknowledged there was growing frustration in some countries, such as Lithuania and Malta, over the length of the Brexit negotiations.
The Irish leader’s comments come ahead of a meeting with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Dublin on Monday and a European Council meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, where leaders will discuss the next steps on Brexit.
Britain is due to formally leave the bloc just two days later, on April 12, but U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk asking for another extension to the U.K.’s departure date and proposing June 30 as a new deadline.