Merkel made no demands about Border during meeting with Varadkar

‘We will simply have to be able to do this, we must be successful,’ says German chancellor

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that, "for 34 years I lived behind the Iron Curtain so I know only too well what it means once borders vanish, once walls fall" after her meeting on Brexit with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Dublin.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made no demands about the border in the event of a no-deal Brexit during a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House in Dublin on Thursday.

Sources said Dr Merkel accepted Mr Varadkar’s assurances that Ireland would protect the single market and the two leaders discussed how to avoid a no-deal outcome next week.

Dr Merkel struck a conciliatory note, and repeatedly expressed her determination to avoid a no-deal outcome.

German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a joint press conference alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Maxwell Photography/PA Wire
German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a joint press conference alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Maxwell Photography/PA Wire

“Let me say, we will simply have to be able do this. We must be successful,” she told journalists at a press conference after the meeting, adding “where there’s a will there’s a way”.

Dr Merkel spoke warmly of her meeting with a number of people from the North and border areas who also met with her to talk about the effects of a hard border in Ireland in the past, and the potential consequences in the future.

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“For 34 years I lived behind the Iron Curtain so I know only too well what it means once borders vanish, once walls fall,” she said.

Dr Merkel was on a brief visit to Dublin as the clock counts down to the emergency EU summit next week, to be held just two days before the UK is due to leave the EU.

The UK says it will ask for another extension but other European leaders have made it clear that the UK must pass the withdrawal agreement through the House of Commons before an extension is granted.

Speculation

Dr Merkel said she would not speculate on what would happen next week if the UK does not pass the withdrawal deal.

“But we will have to see what happens.”

Mr Varadkar pledged that Ireland would not become “a back door to the single market after a hard Brexit”.

He again stressed the Government’s determination to meet the twin objectives of keeping an open border and protecting the single market in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but admitted that there was no plan ready to deal with all the fallout from such an event.

Earlier in the day, Dr Merkel also met a group of people from the North and Border areas who impressed on her the effects of a hard border in Ireland in the past, and the potential consequences in the future.

Among them were Peter Sheridan, chief executive of Co-operation Ireland and a former assistant chief constable with the PSNI; Tanya McCamphill, a Derry native who was a campaign co-ordinator for the Irish for Europe campaign during the EU Referendum and who set up the Derry Girls Against Borders civic campaign; Senator Ian Marshall, the first Ulster Unionist Senator elected to the Seanad , a former President of the Ulster Farmers Union and a full time dairy farmer for over 30 years; peace workers from Belfast and Derry who lost close family members in bomb attacks and a businessman from Co Monaghan.

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