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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Statement by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the joint press conference with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Dublin, 21 June 2018


Dear Leo,

It is a real pleasure to be back in Dublin, a city I know well, where I spent beautiful moments of my life. I remember the Dublin summit back in December '96, then the welcome ceremony of the new Member States and so many other events.

I was pleased to have a meeting with my good friend Leo because we have to discuss a certain number of issues. We started by discussing Brexit – not for the first time, not for the last time, but making it very clear in the view of the Commission, in my view, in Michel Barnier's view that this is not a bilateral question between Ireland and the United Kingdom. This is an issue between the UK and the European Union as such. Sometimes at the European Parliament, some of the Members there are saying that this is not our business but that this is a bilateral business between Ireland and the UK – we do not share that view.

And we wanted to make it clear again and again that Ireland is not alone. We have Ireland backed by 26 Member States and by the Commission – this will not change. I am strongly against any temptation to try to isolate Ireland and not to conclude a deal on Ireland. Ireland has to be part of the deal.

Then we discussed migration. I debriefed the Taoiseach on this smaller meeting, this informal working meeting we will have next Sunday dedicated to migration, but the main point on the agenda of the formal European Council later next week will also be on migration.

When it comes to migration, it is important to underline the need we have to define a European approach to the problems entailed by migration. This is not the moment for national solos, this is the moment for a European approach. In that sense, we are preparing the meetings of next week and I count on Ireland and on the Taoiseach to be as efficient as he normally is.

Thank you.



Questions and Answers

Q1 Mr Juncker, do you think the December deal is bullet proof? Do you think the current impasse threatens the October and also ultimately the March deadline?

President Juncker: It is not only up to us to make sure that there will be a deal. This presupposes major steps to be taken by Britain and I hope that the solutions we have to find will be there at the right moment.

Q2 The Taoiseach has spoken about the trustworthiness of British commitments given last year. You sat across the table from Theresa May negotiating on behalf of the EU. Do you feel that she is a trustworthy negotiating partner?

President Juncker: Yes.


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