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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron today

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is travelling to Paris today for a bilateral meeting with the French President, Emmanuel Macron. He will also welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Dublin later this week.   

Both meetings are a demonstration of the strong and unwavering EU solidarity with Ireland in relation to Brexit. 

The Taoiseach and President Macron will take stock of the latest developments in Westminster, and discuss the scenarios which may arise, including the possibility of a request for an extension, or ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, in advance of the extraordinary meeting of the European Council on 10 April. 

They are also expected to discuss the forthcoming EU Summit in Sibiu and the EU’s next strategic agenda, as well as the Union’s budget for the period after 2020. 

These meetings are part of the Government’s ongoing engagement with EU partners, and its strengthening of relations and alliance-building ahead of Brexit. 

Speaking today in advance of the meeting with President Macron, the Taoiseach said:  

I’m looking forward to meeting President Macron at this critical juncture in Brexit. I will thank him for the ongoing solidarity from France, including the clear commitment that the Withdrawal Agreement must include an operational backstop to avoid a hard border.

I am keen to discuss the possible scenarios arising from this week, particularly how the European Council should respond to a request for another extension, should there be one, and ongoing efforts to secure ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.

As I have indicated, it is now up to the UK to show how it plans to proceed and avoid a No Deal scenario. We are preparing for all outcomes, and have prepared intensively for a No Deal. But no one should under-estimate the difficulties that a No Deal will present, for all of us.