Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar | John Thys/AFP via Getty Images
Irish PM expects Brexit deal ‘in the next few weeks’
‘One of the biggest challenges we face as the EU is the challenge of Brexit,’ the Irish PM said.
Updated 1/4/19, 6:58 PM CET
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Friday he remained confident that a Brexit deal would be reached, but added that his country was preparing for a no-deal British exit.
“I still expect that we will have a deal in the next few weeks,” Varadkar told reporters in Bavaria where he was attending a retreat organized by the Christian Social Union (CSU). “But it is only prudent of course that as every day passes that we intensify preparations for no deal and that is very much what Ireland is doing,” he added.
“In Ireland, the EU was a fundamental precondition for our peace process sweeping away borders and differences without threatening anyone’s nationality or loyalties,” Varadkar said. “We cannot allow that to falter now.”
However, Varadkar stressed he wanted the future relationship between the bloc, Ireland and the U.K. to be “as close, comprehensive and ambitious as possible” on the basis that “there is a level playing field and the integrity of our single market is upheld.”
Varadkar said even though the “divorce” has been “traumatic,” it had also brought “those left behind closer together,” hinting at the support offered to Ireland by other member countries.
The Irish prime minister also stressed the importance of the upcoming European election,