Jean-Claude Juncker en route to show support for Irish Brexit stance

Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is to spend two days in Ireland this week as Brexit talks heat up.

In a clear show of unity and support for the Irish position ahead of this month’s EU Council meeting, Mr Juncker will fly into Dublin on Thursday, along with Europe’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

It had initially been hoped that post-Brexit border arrangements would be signed off on at the upcoming meeting of European leaders. However, with little progress from the British side, it is likely there will still be unresolved issues after the meeting on June 21 and 22.

Mr Juncker, who will also be accompanied by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, will address the Dáil and Seanad and will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Juncker will be awarded with an honorary doctorate of laws from the Chancellor of National University of Ireland, Maurice Manning, in recognition of his leadership role at this crucial time for the EU.

An official dinner in Dublin Castle has been arranged on Thursday evening.

On Friday, Mr Juncker will meet President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin. He will then visit Croke Park and will be shown around the GAA museum by GAA president John Horan before being treated to a demonstration of Gaelic football and hurling.

While a post-Brexit trade and customs arrangement is still has to be agreed, the British government has moved to stress the importance of maintaining security co-operation with Europe after Brexit.

The European arrest warrant has been an important tool for police on both sides of the Irish border pursuing fugitives.

The under-secretary of state in the Brexit department, Robin Walker, said he would have preferred negotiations to have made greater progress on security matters by this stage.

We do think that when people take a long, hard look at this they will recognise it is in the EU and in the UK’s interests for these mechanisms to continue. We are pushing ahead with a very ambitious approach to the future security partnership,” he told the House of Lords EU Select Committee in Westminster.

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