October 17, 2019 / 10:21 AM / a month ago

EU leaders meet at summit dominated by Brexit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU leaders met for a two-day summit on Thursday and Friday, dominated by Brexit. The following are comments from the national leaders and senior EU officials on their arrival.

Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar arrives at the European Union leaders summit dominated by Brexit, in Brussels, Belgium October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

IRISH PM LEO VARADKAR

“I think it’s a good agreement... I’ll be in a position to recommend to the European Council today that the agreement be endorsed by the European Council.”

“The backstop has been replaced. It has been replaced with a new solution, a unique solution for Northern Ireland recognising its unique history and geography. That new solution does what we need it to do, avoid a border between north and south, protects the all-Ireland economy, protects the single market and our place in it.”

“If and when a(n extension) request is received, we can consider it. But not until, not before then.”

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

“Certainly the news of the day is the successful closing of an agreement between the British government and the European Commission. We are looking at this and will form our opinion, but we already know parts of this deal and to the extent that we know it, it is good news.”

“The fact that the Irish prime minister is rather happy here is a very important sign.”

UK PM BORIS JOHNSON

“I do think this deal represents a very good deal both for the EU and the UK. It is a reasonable, fair outcome.”

“We can deliver a real Brexit that achieves our objectives. And it means the UK leaves whole and entire on Oct.31.”

“I hope very much now... that my fellow MPs in Westminster do come now together to get... this deal over the line.”

“Now is the moment for us to get Brexit done and to work together on our common future.”

“There is no case for delay.”

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER

“We have a deal. And this deal means that there is no need for any kind of prolongation. This is a fair and balanced agreement.”

“It provides certainty where Brexit creates uncertainty. It protects the rights of our citizens and it protects peace and stability on the island of Ireland. There will be no border on the island of Ireland. And the Single Market will be protected.”

LUXEMBOURG PM XAVIER BETTEL

“It’s for everyone much better if we agree.”

“I always wanted a deal.”

ESTONIA PM JURI RATAS

“Brexit is still 100 times more better than without a deal.|

LATVIA PM KRISJANIS KARINS

“We want to have a deal with the UK because after Brexit we want a good relationship with the UK.”

“It certainly looks very promising.”

SWEDEN PM STEFAN LOFVEN

“We have always supported an orderly exit.”

“We will continue the process with this deal.”

“We want to take the deal further so that the British parliament can decide on it.”

EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT DONALD TUSK

“A deal is always better than a no-deal.”

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON

“We have good news this morning.”

“The deal now needs to be technically explained, politically presented. It will be done in the coming hours. As far as I’m concerned, I am satisfied we managed to find it and reasonably confident it can be ratified by the British and European parliament.”

“This is good new, this agreement meets our collective objectives... This agreement looks today like a good compromise.”

“I want to believe that Prime Minister Johnson would have a majority to support this agreement discussed in recent weeks.”

BELGIUM PM CHARLES MICHEL

“It is a step in the right direction, but I remain cautious. That’s in my character, my temperament, because I know from experience that the devil is often in the detail. ...now it is necessary that the British parliament provides its approval.”

“I am happy but I am also cautious because we will see if this can be accepted by the House of Commons.”

“It’s a positive moment in my opinion.”

DUTCH PM MARK RUTTE

“Well, (it’s) very encouraging news that there is an agreement, now we have to study the details. But in itself very encouraging.”

FINNISH PM ANTTI RINNE

“The ball again is in the British Parliament(‘s court) ... I hope it goes through this time.”

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“I hope we are now at the end of this process. But there are still many doubts - for instance, inside the British parliament.”

INCOMING HEAD OF EU COMMISSION URSULA VON DER LEYEN

“It is a good starting point for future negotiations, future relationship between the UK and the EU.”

Reporting by Brussels newsroom

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