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The EU can not be held 'hostage' to Brexit crisis, says Macron

The EU can not be held 'hostage' to Brexit crisis, says Macron

"The EU can not sustainably be the hostage for the solution to a political crisis in the UK".

But Simon Coveney said it was not too late to create a plan that would protect the single market and the peace process on the island of Ireland in the absence of a backstop.

"That is something that we do not have an agreed plan on but we are working this week and presumably next week on, if we need to, in the context of a no-deal Brexit", Coveney said, referring to meetings with the EU Commission he said had begun last week.

The Mayo Fianna Fáil TD said he still hoped no-deal can be avoided - but he said the Government should be more open with the public about the risks and implications.

They both said the integrity of the single market would need to be protected, but that the European Union would uphold commitments made to ensure the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.

"As decided by the European council on March 22, it is up to the United Kingdom to present a credible alternative plan, backed by a majority, by April 10 to avoid it".

"If the United Kingdom is unable three years after the referendum to propose a solution that commands a majority, it will have chosen de facto for itself to leave without a deal and we are unable to prevent this failure", he said.

"We have a future to build together within the EU".

Man City can't think of the quadruple, says Guardiola
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld scored an own goal and Liverpool's second, March 31, 2019.

"We have to find a way of ensuring that we protect the single market's integrity and that we avoid physical infrastructure on the (Irish) border", Coveney told parliament ahead of Varadkar's meetings with the leaders of France and Germany this week.

Refusing border controls, however, could lead to the introduction of checks between Irish exports and the rest of the European Union, experts and officials have warned.

The EU warned on Tuesday that Britain could be heading for a potentially disorderly no-deal exit in just 10 days time as Prime Minister Theresa May met with ministers to thrash out ways to break the deadlock.

The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 12 April, if it can not propose a way forward to the EU.

"Any extension must have a clear goal and a clear plan", Varadkar said.

But he again warned "we can not avoid failure for them", and will this evening discuss with his Irish counterpart the potential consequences of a no deal Brexit.

"There is still time for the prime minister to come to the European Council with proposals, proposals that are credible and have a clear pathway to success", he said.

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