Ahead of his meeting with Mrs May at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, the Irish prime minister revealed EU leaders have been busy discussing Brexit at the EU-Arab League summit. Mr Varadkar said a hard Brexit would be a “lose, lose, lose” scenario for Britain, Ireland and the EU. But he virtually ruled out such a possibility as he predicts Mrs May will seek to extend the EU’s Article 50 exit mechanism if she cannot secure a Commons majority for her draft EU withdrawal agreement.
Speaking to reporters about Brexit on the fringe summit, Mr Varadkar said: “Given that there are over 20 EU heads of states and government here, there have been a lot of meetings on the sidelines about it.
“What is evident to me is that absolutely nobody wants the United Kingdom to crash out of the European Union without a deal that is a lose, lose, lose scenario for everyone.
“And it gives me confidence, at least a sense at least, that the UK will not crash out of the European Union without a deal. On March 29, we’ll either have a deal or an extension.”
Mrs May has already met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as part a number of bilateral Brexit meetings due to take place today.
The two leaders discussed delaying Brexit as a possible way of avoiding a no-deal scenario.
The Prime Minister has also met with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president and Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister to discuss Brexit.
During discussions on Sunday, Donald Tusk, the European Council president, ramped up the pressure on Mrs May to secure a Commons majority for her deal.
The EU’s most senior official told the Prime Minister that he would not convene meeting of EU leaders to approve a deal Brexit deal unless she can prove she already has the support of MPs for her plan.
Mr Tusk insisted the EU needs “clarity that the proposal for the way forward can command a majority in the UK, before the issue is tackled by the European Council,” according to a senior official.
Discussions come amid reports that the EU is planning a lengthy Brexit delay that could see Britain remain in the bloc until 2021 in order to avert a no-deal divorce.
Brussels sources claim that leaders are ready to push Mrs May through the “emergency exit” if she is unable to win support of MPs for her EU withdrawal agreement.
Diplomats and officials in Brussels have voiced their concerns after the Prime Minister revealed she would make MPs wait until 17 days before Brexit for the so-called “Meaningful Vote” on her revised deal.
The House of Commons will now vote on March 13 as Mrs May continues to negotiate a revised Brexit deal with Brussels.
Published at Mon, 25 Feb 2019 11:01:00 +0000