''Special Place In Hell'' For Brexiteers With No Plan: EU's Donald Tusk

Leo Varadkar and Donald Tusk in Brussels

EU Council President Donald Tusk gives a statement after a meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 6, 2019.

Donald Tusk said that the other 27 European Union members had decided in December that the withdrawal agreement was "not open for renegotiation" - a message echoed by Mr Juncker.

Although it is the outcome that all parties involved in the negotiations say they wish to most avoid, the intransigence of the European negotiating team has the inevitable impact of pushing the United Kingdom closer to a so called no-deal Brexit - a full and clean break from the European Union.

At the end of their press conference, Mr Varadkar was picked up by the microphones telling Mr Tusk: "They'll give you awful trouble in the British press for that".

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "Leo Varadkar said that they want the United Kingdom to leave with a deal, Donald Tusk said earlier today their priority is avoiding no deal".

Since British lawmakers voted down the withdrawal agreement last month, parliament has instructed May to replace its most contentious element - an insurance policy covering the possible future arrangements for the border between EU-member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

"We will not gamble with peace or put a sell-by date on the resolution".

Britain will risk crashing out of 40 trade agreements spanning five continents in event of a no-deal Brexit, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned Wednesday.

He reiterated that the EU's "top priority" is the border on the island of Ireland and maintaining the peace process.

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He said other European Union members had offered "unwavering commitment to protecting hard won peace and stability".

The Brexit chief for Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, Sammy Wilson, branded Tusk a "devilish, trident wielding, euro maniac".

It will be her first chance to hold face-to-face talks with the bloc since her Withdrawal Agreement reached in November was rejected by the House of Commons. Tusk's appearance alongside Varadkar was the latest signal that the bloc will not abandon Ireland, which fears both the economic and political impact of a hard border.

Reaction, as they say, was swift and furious from the Brexiteers.

Neither will the deal's "backstop" that ensures an open Irish border, he said, denouncing the British eurosceptics now pushing for an abrupt "no deal" departure.

"I hope that tomorrow we will hear from Prime Minister May a realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse", he said.

"The backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement and we can not reopen the discussion on the backstop".

He said the actions of the Prime Minister and the British government outlined the need for the backstop and said Ireland was continuing to ramp up preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

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