Leo Varadkar welcomes the proposals but awaits detail in White Paper


The Taoiseach's spoken to the British Prime Minister in the wake of the UK Cabinet summit on Brexit

Leo Varadkar is welcoming the proposals and is waiting on the detail before agreeing an EU position.

The Tánaiste says no matter what the outcome of the negotiations on the EU-UK future relationship, a hard border will be avoided.

Simon Coveney has welcomed the UK latest Brexit proposals but says they need detailed consideration.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs says he's looking forward to the White Paper which is expected next week.

The White Paper's expected to provide detail for the EU Task Force, the Irish Government and all EU partners.

"Ireland's position is that we want to see the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK. On the backstop for the border, our position remains clear. 

While our preference is still for an overall EU-UK relationship which would resolve all issues, it remains essential that a backstop is agreed which provides certainty that in any circumstances, and no matter what the outcome of the negotiations on the EU-UK future relationship, a hard border will be avoided."

"What is needed now is for the negotiations to be intensified. Time is short. I am in regular contact with Michel Barnier and my officials are working day-in and day-out with the Task Force team he leads.

Our entire focus now is on ensuring a Withdrawal Agreement, including the Irish backstop, is agreed. This will give businesses across our islands certainty in terms of planning for a status-quo transition when the UK leaves the Union in March 2019.”

Meanwhile the British Prime Minister still needs to win over her euro-sceptic backbenchers.

There's been a mixed response to a cabinet agreement on trade proposals that will keep the UK and EU closely aligned.

Ministers backed Theresa May's plans for a free trade area after a whole day of talks yesterday.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn doubts Theresa May can unite her MPs behind the plans.

"It has not got widespread support within the Conservative party, I've got a feeling the whole thing might start to unravel within a few days.

It's also very unclear whether or not they can they deliver that as an agreement with Europe."