Irish premier Leo Varadkar has said the EU must be open to a long extension regarding Article 50, should the UK reconsider their Brexit approach.
Varadkar said it is up to the UK to indicate how they plan to no not crash out of the EU with a no-deal. The Taoiseach made his comments after Theresa May’s Brexit vote was rejected for the third time on Friday afternoon.
Varadkar said in a statement, “The government notes the decision of the House of Commons to reject the indicative Withdrawal Agreement.
“It is now up to the UK to indicate how it plans to proceed in order to avoid a no-deal scenario.
“The European Council has agreed unanimously that the Withdrawal Agreement will not be reopened.”
Ireland has been “preparing intensively” for a no-deal Brexit however, no one should underestimate the difficulties this will present for all countries, including the UK.
He said: “It is not clear that the UK has fully understood that no-deal is not off the agenda. Rather, it’s a growing possibility.”
The EU Council president Donald Tusk called a European Council meeting for 10 April, Varadkar welcomed Tusk’s decision.
The Taoiseach said, “It is now incumbent on the UK to chart a realistic way forward for consideration at that council meeting.”
“I believe we must be open to a long extension should the United Kingdom decide to fundamentally reconsider its approach to Brexit and put back on the table options previously ruled out.
“I believe that will result in a generous and understanding response from the 27.”
On Monday Varadkar is to travel to France to hold a meeting with Emmanuel Macron, the French President, and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor will head to Dublin on Thursday.
Both of these meetings will focus over the latest Brexit developments, a spokesman for the Irish government said.
The spokesman added, “These two meetings reflect the deep and warm relations Ireland enjoys with both France and Germany, including the support shown to Ireland during the Brexit negotiations.”
Ahead of the meetings the irish premier said, “I will again express the Government’s gratitude for their continuing solidarity.
“We will take stock of the latest developments on Brexit when we meet, efforts to secure ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement and no-deal planning.
“We will also take the opportunity to consider the Future of Europe agenda.
“Important discussions lie ahead, with an informal summit on the Union’s strategic agenda due in early May in Sibiu, and negotiations on the EU budget for the period after 2020 due to be finalised by the end of this year.
“While I meet regularly with both the President and Chancellor at the European Council in Brussels, these bilateral meetings are an important opportunity for an in-depth and one-to-one exchange on how to further strengthen our relations away from the bustle of the European Council.
“Our bilateral relations with both Germany and France are better than ever and will become even more important as we move to a European Union of 27 members.”