Brexit: 'You are not alone', Juncker tells Irish government

Guy Verhofstadt

Jean-Claude Juncker has warned Theresa May that time is running out to resolve the impasse over the Irish border issue that risks bringing down the whole Brexit deal.

Mr Juncker will meet Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, receive an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland and attend an official dinner hosted by the Taoiseach in Dublin Castle.

I expect that they will express their strong support for Ireland in the Brexit negotiations.

Hillary Clinton has said Brexit should not be allowed to undermine the Northern Ireland peace process.

Negotiators have struggled to find a solution acceptable to both sides which want to avoid a "hard border" after Britain's departure from the European Union.

The pair held a short meeting along with their delegations, including Clara Martinez-Alberola, head of Mr Juncker's cabinet, Gerard Kiely, head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, legal adviser Michael Shotter and financial adviser Paulina Dejmek-Hack.

"Today's address not only afforded us the opportunity to hear directly from President Juncker, it also allowed for an honest and frank exchange of views across the parliament".

Jean Claude Juncker and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. "It remains our intention to achieve a close economic partnership that does not require the backstop to be in operation".

The Commission President did not try his luck at either Gaelic football or hurling, preferring to leave it to athletes who demonstrated the sport.

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However, there was a wide gap between Leave and Remain voters, with 55 per cent of those who chose to stay in the EU saying a soft border was more important than leaving the customs union, while 66 per cent of those who backed Brexit saying they would accept a hard border.

"It's a point that has also been reinforced by Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator for Article 50 negotiations", said McGuinness.

"I will present the state of play of the negotiations to the European Council and the European Parliament".

"This is not a bilateral question between Ireland the United Kingdom - this is an issue between the UK and the European Union".

"I would like to recall that the withdrawal agreement must contain a fully operational backstop solution for Ireland and Northern Ireland".

After his talks with the prime minister, allies of Mr Davis immediately claimed victory by insisting "much more detail" would be provided on the time-limited nature of the government's backstop proposal.

When the Sinn Féin leadership team met with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London on Wednesday they raised the issue of the need for a City Deal for Derry with her.

This week the European Union warned that more work was needed on how to deal with the 300-mile frontier post-Brexit.

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