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Taoiseach travels to Brussels for meetings with Presidents Juncker & Tusk

20190206 Tusk

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in Brussels today for a series of meetings with senior EU representatives including the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

He will also meet with the Chair of the European Parliament Steering Group on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, Commissioner Phil Hogan and the EU Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier.

20190206 Juncker

Speaking before his departure, the Taoiseach said:

I look forward to meeting Presidents Tusk and Juncker, as well as Guy Verhofstadt, Michel Barnier and Commissioner Hogan in Brussels. I will thank them for their unwavering solidarity with Ireland, and their ongoing support for the backstop as an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Withdrawal Agreement is the best way to ensure an orderly withdrawal by the UK. We want the future relationship between the EU and the UK to be as close, comprehensive and ambitious as possible, so that the backstop will never be needed.

However, given the ongoing uncertainty in London, we are intensifying our planning for all scenarios, including a no-deal exit. My visit is an opportunity to exchange views on the detailed contingency planning underway at both domestic and EU level, and to explore what supports might be needed.