European Union can not be 'held hostage' to Brexit crisis: French President Macron

New advice has been issued today to people working in the construction industry and those with UK driving licences as the Government prepares for a No Deal Brexit

"The EU can not be held hostage to the resolution of a political crisis in the United Kingdom on a long-term basis", Macron said, adding that granting Britain a lengthy extension of the deadline for leaving the bloc was "not a certainty".

He again warned that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is the only deal on the table - and said that if the UK Parliament fails to pass it in the coming days, the country will have to request a longer extension or face leaving without a deal.

"We don't want Ireland to be a backdoor to the single market", Varadkar told a press conference after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

He said: "The third rejection of the agreement from the Commons and rejection so far of any alternative paves the way for a no deal exit".

Mr Coveney added that in the case of a no-deal Ireland will have a dual obligation to manage the border issues and also protect the integrity of the European Union single market.

"We are working very closely with Irish authorities to try and perform controls away from the border if at all possible", an European Union official, who did not wish to be named, said last week.

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British MPs rejected all four Brexit options put to them in a second round of "indicative votes" - including remaining in a customs union with the EU, revoking Article 50, a general election and a second referendum.

"As I have indicated, it is now up to the United Kingdom to show how it plans to proceed and avoid a no-deal scenario".

"We can not avoid failure for them - a long extension involving the UK's participation in the European elections and in the EU's institutions is far from evident".

He described it as the basis for peace between Ireland and Northern Ireland. "However, 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.

Speaking to RTE News in Cork, Mr Coveney said: "In the absence of a British Government co-operating in the way that they have committed to, to actually prevent checks on the island of Ireland, well then we need to try to come up with another plan".

"In the unlikely event that we have a no-deal and the United Kingdom were to do trade deals with the USA or China and we had chlorinated chicken or hormone beef, or products made by child labour in Asian countries, the last thing we would want is that coming south of the border into the Republic of Ireland".

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