EU leaders to air dismay at lack of progress on Brexit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar along with his fellow EU leaders will today express his deep disappointment at the lack of progress from the “chaotic” British government on Brexit.

The Government is clearly running out of patience with British prime minister Theresa May’s inability to demonstrate real progress ahead of today’s summit on the Irish question.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney, in the Dáil, gave voice to that frustration, when asked about the summit.

“Unfortunately, what we are hearing constantly out of Westminster is somewhat chaotic in terms of messaging and that needs to stop. We cannot stop it; that is a matter for the British political system to resolve,” he said.

It became apparent last weekend that sufficient progress had not been made on the Irish border or the backstop arrangement to allow the substantive talks on trade progress.

At the summit, EU leaders are expected to express disappointment at the lack of progress to date from the British side in the Brexit negotiations, including on the backstop. They are also expected to send a strong message to the UK that negotiations will need to intensify in order for a Withdrawal Agreement to be concluded satisfactorily by the October European Council.

Mr Varadkar along with junior minister Helen McEntee travel to Brussels today on behalf of Ireland and the Taoiseach made it clear that “time is running out”.

“Time is running out for the Withdrawal Agreement to be concluded satisfactorily by the October European Council. I expect EU leaders to send a strong message to the UK that negotiations with the taskforce need to intensify.

“The lack of progress in the negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement has been very disappointing. We still need to see detailed proposals from the UK on how it intends to deliver on the clear commitments it made in December and March,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said the Government is “grateful” to our EU partners for their ongoing strong support.

“The European Council has stated on repeated occasions that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Meanwhile, our preparations and contingency planning continue in Ireland and are intensifying for all outcomes,” the Taoiseach said.

Sinn Féin Brexit spokesperson David Cullinane said the Government must stand up for the rights of the people of the North by making good on the commitment that citizens in the North will never again be left behind.

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