May Needs to Present Brexit Plans Urgently, Irish Say

(Bloomberg) -- Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said there’s an urgent need for the U.K. to present new proposals to deal with border issue, as the clock ticks down to Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Speaking in parliament in Dublin on Wednesday, Varadkar said it’s the goverment’s “strong view” that real progress needs to be achieved in June, to allow the sealing of a withdrawal deal in October. He said he’s “far from deciding” what “real and meaningful” progress looks like.

At least twice in the last week, European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier has made public warnings that talks could still fail, partly because of the question of how to keep the Irish border invisible after Brexit.

At present, the only realistic plan on the table for keeping the border clear of checks after Brexit is the EU’s “backstop” option, which would effectively keep Northern Ireland in the bloc’s customs union and parts of the single market if needed. That amounts to erecting a border between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, which the U.K. considers unacceptable.

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