Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday said he believed “a deal can be done” to avoid a disorderly British exit from the EU, after a meeting with a key ally of British Prime Minister Theresa May that he said went very well.
Varadkar later hosted May for a formal dinner in Dublin that an Irish official described as “very warm” - in contrast to a relatively chilly reception given to May in Brussels earlier this week.
Varadkar said talks with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party in Belfast in the afternoon showed there was “more that unites us than divides us when it comes to Brexit,” unusually conciliatory language in what has often been an acrimonious relationship.
The DUP, which props up May’s government, has been one of the fiercest critics of Britain’s exit deal with the European Union, which parliament in London has rejected and more particularly the contentious “backstop” championed by Varadkar.
The provision is an insurance policy meant to keep the border between Ireland, a euro zone member, and the British-run province of Northern Ireland open under any and all circumstances. The DUP says its terms are unacceptable as they would undermine trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
The EU has said it will not remove the provision or re-open the legally binding Brexit deal agreed with Britain over two years, but has said it is ready to rework the political declaration that accompanies it.