Donald Tusk in Dublin for Brexit talks

European Council president Donald Tusk is to meet the Taoiseach in Dublin. Picture from European Council, Press Association
Michael McHugh, Press Association

EUROPEAN Council president Donald Tusk will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin today amid ongoing uncertainty over Brexit.

The leaders will discuss the Brexit negotiations, the European Commission's draft withdrawal agreement and suggested guidelines for the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

They will also consider key economic issues during the talks at Government Buildings.

Mr Tusk's visit comes before the European Council meeting of EU leaders on March 22-23 on Brexit and economic affairs.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has suggested the EU could block British Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to maintain a soft border while leaving the customs union.

One fall-back option is to keep Northern Ireland in an effective customs union with the EU.

Today's visit will be Mr Tusk's second trip to the Republic in three months.

He has already pledged that the EU will stand with the Republic on the Irish border issue and Dublin's efforts to ensure frictionless passage of people and goods.

Northern Ireland's position post-Brexit is holding up agreement on Britain's exit terms and a transition deal.

Mrs May's supporters in Government, the DUP, are adamantly opposed to any settlement which would set the north apart from Britain.

Meanwhile, a group of academics and activists has said human rights in the north cannot be damaged by Brexit.

The group, including Tanya Ward, the director of Children's Rights Alliance, and Ulster University law professor Rory O'Connell, has signed a letter saying that people in the north should retain the rights they have as EU citizens after Brexit.

"These rights should not be conditional upon a requirement to declare Irish citizenship, in line with the guarantees of equality under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement," they said.

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