Irish PM says no progress in Brexit talks on border issue

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives for the European People's Party (EPP) meeting ahead of the informal meeting of EU leaders, in Salzburg, Austria, September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Leo Vardkar said on Wednesday there has been no progress in six months in talks between the European Union and Britain on the delicate issue of border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. Speaking to reporters on arrival for talks of all 28 EU leaders in Austria, Varadkar was asked if there was progress on the border issue with British Prime Minister Theresa May. "No, I'm afraid that's not the case. I don't think we're any closer to a withdrawal agreement than we were in March so I can't report any progress unfortunately," he said. "We have yet to see an alternative text from the UK government that anybody in the European Union finds to be acceptable." "As of now we haven't made any progress but we're going to keep working on it and certainly it is my view that we really should work towards having an agreement in principle in October. I wouldn't like to see it run into November or December." He said Britain will have to budge on the issue eventually and added: "I think if any sense has been created that any sort of progress has been made in the last couple of weeks the I'm afraid that is not the case." Varadkar, however, did say he did not think the talks were going to collapse and lead to a no-deal scenario in which Britain would crash out from the bloc next March without an agreement regulating the divorce terms or future ties. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)