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Let's be open to credible Brexit proposals from Britain: Ireland's Varadkar
03 April 2019, 12:23 | Vera Richards
Varadkar meeting Macron for Brexit discussions - ITV News
"And we certainly wouldn't want it getting through the Republic of Ireland into the European Union", he said.
"We don't want Ireland to be a back door to the single market, anymore than anybody wants us to become a back door to the single market", Varadkar said after a meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Speaking during a visit to Paris by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the French leader said: "Our priority must be the proper functioning of the European Union and the single market".
He said: "The third rejection of the agreement from the Commons and rejection so far of any alternative paves the way for a no deal exit".
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Speaking ahead of talks with Varadkar, Macron noted that, "If the United Kingdom is not capable, nearly three years after the referendum, of coming forward with a solution that is supported by a majority, it will have effectively chosen a no-deal exit on its own".
"We have to find a way of ensuring that we protect the single market's integrity and that we avoid physical infrastructure on the (Irish) border", Coveney told parliament ahead of Varadkar's meetings with the leaders of France and Germany this week.
"As decided by the European council on March 22, it is up to the United Kingdom to present a credible alternative plan, backed by a majority, by April 10 to avoid it". The bulk of Irish exports to the continental European Union are shipped via the UK.
The EU warned on Tuesday that Britain could be heading for a potentially disorderly no-deal exit in just 10 days time as Prime Minister Theresa May met with ministers to thrash out ways to break the deadlock.
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But differences are emerging between the two sides as the possibility of a "no deal" Brexit looms, which would lead to the creation of a border between the United Kingdom territory of Northern Ireland and Ireland.
But the Irish Prime Minister provided a minor boost to Mrs May, adding there is still time for her to present a credible proposal to Brussels for a further delay to Brexit, but any extension must have a "clear objective and plan".
In his comments prior to the meeting, Mr Macron said France would never let Ireland down and said he was aware of the difficulties a no-deal Brexit would mean for Ireland.
Speaking to RTE News in Cork, Mr Coveney said: "In the absence of a British Government co-operating in the way that they have committed to, to actually prevent checks on the island of Ireland, well then we need to try to come up with another plan".
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