- Title: Irish PM: customs, potential veto are obstacles to UK's Brexit offer
- Date: 3rd October 2019
- Summary: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (OCTOBER 3, 2019) (REUTERS) IRISH PRIME MINISTER LEO VARADKAR AND SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER STEFAN LOFVEN WALKING TO PODIUMS (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH PRIME MINISTER, LEO VARADKAR, SAYING: "I think there are two major obstacles. The first is the proposals on customs. You know, I don't fully understand how we could have Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in separate customs unions and somehow avoid there being tariffs, checks and customs posts on trade between north and south - so we need to tease that through." VARADKAR AND LOFVEN LISTENING TO QUESTIONS FROM MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH PRIME MINISTER, LEO VARADKAR, SAYING: "And then secondly I think the issue of consent and democracy is important. As I've said before, any consent mechanism, any democracy mechanism must reflect the views of the majority of people in Ireland and Northern Ireland and no one party, not my party, not Sinn Fein, not the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) - should be in the position to veto what will be the will of the majority in Northern Ireland or Ireland." VARADKAR AND LOFVEN STANDING NEAR IRISH, SWEDISH AND EU FLAGS DURING NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH PRIME MINISTER, LEO VARADKAR, SAYING: "I take two positives from it, you know, one is accepting that regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the European Union is part of what's needed to avoid a border with checks between north and south and that is different from the position taken maybe two months ago so I think that is a move. And a positive move. And I think secondly in his letter the suggestion that we may have a new deal, if you like, for Northern Ireland that beyond the issues that arise directly from Brexit that we could look at ways to strengthen the all-Ireland economy, improving the infrastructure for example between north and south." VARADKAR AND LOFVEN LISTENING TO QUESTIONS FROM MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER, STEFAN LOFVEN, SAYING: "Of course we're working to get a deal, that you have to focus on. Also preparing for a no-deal Brexit. That would be much worse but we work to get this deal done. An extension depends on the reason for the extension. Of course we are willing to discuss that but there needs to be a reason for this. What are we waiting for? Why do we extend this time? So let's see if that comes up, let's see the reason for it." / NEWS CONFERENCE ENDING, LOFVEN AND VARADKAR SHAKING HANDS AND LEAVING ROOM
- Embargoed: 17th October 2019 15:28
- Keywords: EU customs Northern Ireland Sinn Fein Irish backstop Leo Varadkar European Union DUP Brexit deal
- Location: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
- City: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
- Country: Sweden
- Topics: European Union,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001AZJJYH3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Britain's offer to the European Union to come to a deal on Brexit is welcome but customs arrangements and giving a veto to Northern Ireland's assembly over any future regulatory divergence from EU rules are a problem, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday (October 3).
"No party - not my party, not Sinn Fein, not the DUP - should be in the position to veto what will be the will of the majority in Northern Ireland and Ireland," Varadkar said after meeting Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in Stockholm.
On Wednesday (October 2), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a final Brexit offer to the European Union including an alternative to the so-called Irish backstop which has been a major sticking point to a deal.
Lofven told the news conference the European Union was willing to discuss an extension to Article 50, under which Britain is currently due to exit the bloc on Oct. 31, but there had to be a reason.
(Production: Bjorn Lockstrom, Ilze Filks)
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