Raw Politics: MEPs react to Tusk's 'special place in hell' comment

Raw Politics: MEPs react to Tusk's 'special place in hell' comment

Donald Tusk has remained adamant that Brexit talks will not be reopening despite increasing support from European Union political leaders like Angela Merkel who have suggested that some compromises can be made on the EU's side for the UK.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, left, shakes hands with European Council President Donald Tusk after making a joint statement following their meeting at the Europa building in Brussels, Wednesday, Feb. 6.

The European Council president, who acts as a go-between for all EU leaders, also called on the PM to present a "realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse" over the Brexit deal which is holding up approval by MPs.

Varadkar, whose government has stressed the importance of maintaining an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit, thanked Tusk. At the moment the pro-Brexit stance of the United Kingdom prime minister and the leader of the opposition rules out this question, today there is no political force and no effective leadership to remain.

Tusk was speaking at a news conference in Brussels following a morning meeting with the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

Mr Tusk's comments came as he repeated the EU's insistence that the Withdrawal Agreement reached with Theresa May previous year can not be reopened to remove the backstop arrangement for the Irish border.

"We will not gamble with peace or put a sell-by date on the resolution".

The deadline for Brexit is 29 March, 2019.

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As for May, who is to arrive in Brussels for talks on Thursday in an attempt to formulate "alternative arrangements" on the contentious backstop, "she knows that the Commission isn't prepared to reopen the issue", Juncker stressed.

"They are people who have acted with absolute contempt for this country, utter disregard for the experiences of Irish people north and south, with utter disregard for the peace process that has been collectively built over decades", McDonald said.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "We had a robust and lively referendum campaign in this country".

"The current backstop, as I have said all along, is toxic to those of us living in Northern Ireland", DUP leader Arlene Foster, who will meet May in Belfast on Wednesday, told BBC radio.

But the Northern Irish party which props up May's government says it could endanger the province's place in the United Kingdom, while Brexit supporters in May's Conservative Party worry it would lock the country into European Union rules for the long term.

No matter, Tusk and Varadkar both laughed.

Critics of the backstop argue its lack of any agreed time-limit is unacceptable as it could see the United Kingdom locked into a customs union deal with the EU indefinitely and Northern Ireland kept under EU single market rules.

She spoke of an "unshakeable" commitment to avoiding a hard border in Ireland after Brexit, pledging: "The UK Government will not let that happen".

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