Varadkar meeting Macron for Brexit discussions

Irish premier Leo Varadkar is due to meet the French president for Brexit discussions on Thursday Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Irish premier Leo Varadkar will hold Brexit talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

The bilateral meeting in Paris comes ahead of talks between Mr Varadkar and German Chancellor Angel Merkel, who is due to visit Dublin on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Irish Government said the meetings were a demonstration of strong and unwavering EU solidarity with Ireland over 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,” the spokesman said.

They are also expected to discuss the forthcoming EU summit in Sibiu, Romania, as well as the European Union’s budget for the period after 2020.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Taoiseach said he was looking forward to meeting Mr 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,” Mr Varadkar said.

“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 underestimate the difficulties that a no deal will present, for all of us.”