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Taoiseach hosts talks with Tusk as Brexit deal deadline looms

Taoiseach hosts talks with Tusk as Brexit deal deadline looms

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is meeting European Council President Donald Tusk in Dublin with just ten days left before Brexit, but with no deal in sight.

Mr Tusk and Mr Varadkar shook hands on the steps of Government Buildings, but declined to comment to waiting media.

The meeting comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May considers a shock ruling by the chair of the House of Commons, John Bercow, which precludes her from bringing her Brexit deal back before MPs without substantial changes.

On St Patrick’s Day, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted a message to what he called his “Irish friends”, saying Ireland was part of the EU for 40 years and he looked forward to another 40 of peace, prosperity and solidarity.

Mr Tusk will chair the EU leaders’ summit, which begins on Thursday and is the last scheduled gathering before the UK is supposed to leave the EU on 29 March.

It seems likely that Mrs May will seek to extend that Brexit deadline at the meeting, but she requires the unanimous support of the 27 EU prime ministers and presidents.

Her capacity to convince EU leaders she can secure parliamentary backing for any deal has been further undermined by yesterday’s ruling by the chair of the House of Commons Mr Bercow.

And with the whole Brexit process in disarray, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed was in Brussels last night seeking targetted support for farmers in the event of a no-deal Brexit outcome.

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