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Leo will give Merkel an Irish history lesson in bid to stop hard Border


Varadkar with Emmanuel Macron

Varadkar with Emmanuel Macron


Varadkar with Emmanuel Macron

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be given a lesson in Irish history as part of the Taoiseach's bid to get her on side ahead of a potentially disastrous Brexit outcome.

Leo Varadkar will lean heavily on stories of the Border region, while trying to convince Ms Merkel a hard Border cannot exist under any circumstances.

Central to her first visit to Dublin in five years will be a round-table discussion with 15 business and community representatives from both sides of the Border.

Sources said the aim was to help her understand Ireland's refusal to plan for Border checks in the event that the UK crashes out of the EU.


Ms Merkel was quoted as saying she will fight until the very end for an orderly Brexit and use her Irish trip to consider the Border situation and solutions that could prevent a hard Brexit.

She is also expected to give a public indication of whether Germany will back the UK's application for a short Brexit extension.

British Prime Minister Theresa May met with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday to start work on a possible compromise that could break the impasse in Westminster.

But Mr Varadkar said it was unclear whether Mr Corbyn "will rise to the occasion" and help end the deadlock.

There are now conflicting messages from Dublin and Brussels on the likelihood of a UK crash-out on April 12.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney said a disorderly Brexit next week was "very unlikely" but European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it was "now a very likely scenario".

Mr Juncker told MEPs that April 12 was the "ultimate deadline" for the House of Commons to approve the withdrawal agreement, including the Irish backstop.

"If it has not done so by then, no further short extension will be possible," he said.

"After April 12, we risk jeopardising the European Parliament elections, and so threaten the functioning of the European Union."

Amid growing frustration that Brexit is dominating the EU agenda, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he saw "absolutely no reason" for another extension.

The downbeat mood makes Mr Varadkar's meeting with the influential German leader all the more significant.

He said an extension could not "be merely a licence for further indecision".

"We need a clear plan," the Taoiseach said.

"An extension in this context is one thing, but a rolling extension that just leads to further indecision, further majorities against things but for nothing, is not a solution for anyone."

After a broadly successful meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, Mr Varadkar will be hoping Ms Merkel will send a message to EU colleagues by playing down the possibility of checks at the Irish Border in a no-deal scenario.


She has previously urged EU officials to expedite work on how to secure the EU's single market if a disorderly Brexit occurs.

Irish Government sources insisted her decision to travel to Dublin was a "very positive" development.

"Chancellor Merkel has a particular interest in the Border. She is keen to learn the history," one source said.

While the chancellor will not visit the Border area, it is understood people with direct experience will explain how the removal of checkpoints has changed their lives over recent years.

Mr Varadkar said European leaders were asking "reasonable questions" about what happens in a no-deal scenario but denied there was "a big stick or Ireland being put under undue pressure".

"If there is a no-deal Brexit, whatever issues arise will be seen as shared problems,"he added.