Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, has used today’s meeting in Brussels with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to remind the United Kingdom that maintaining the delicately balanced peace in Ireland is a priority for the European Union in all withdrawal negotiations with the UK. And to strongly rebuke those British politicians and commentators who supported Brexit with no thought or plan to mitigate the damage it would cause to the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998:
“The top priority for us remains the issue of the border on the island of Ireland. And the guarantee to maintain the peace process in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.
There’s no room for speculation here. The EU itself is first and foremost a peace project. We will not gamble with peace or put a sell-by date on reconciliation. And this is why we insist on the backstop.
Give us a believable guarantee for peace in Northern Ireland and the UK will leave the EU as a trusted friend. I hope that the UK government will present ideas that will both respect this point of view and, at the same time, command a stable and clear majority in the House of Commons. I strongly believe that a common solution is possible, and I will do everything in my power to find it.
A sense of responsibility also tells us to prepare for a possible fiasco. The Taoiseach and I have spoken about the necessary actions in case of no deal; I know that you will also be discussing this shortly with the European Commission.
By the way, I’ve been wondering what the special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it [out] safely.”
Predictably the press in London has reacted with fury to the scolding, as the Taoiseach suggested in a hot-mic comment to the former Polish premier, but Brussels seems to have reached the limit of its patience with UK dissembling and dishonesty over the question of maintaining the open border around the Six Counties after Brexit.