Irish PM says he's ‘confused and puzzled’ by UK Brexit plans

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 22 August 2017 in Diary

Watch: Leo Varadkar spoke candidly to Bloomberg News.

Ireland's prime minister has said he is “confused and puzzled” about what Britain wants from its future trading relationship with the European Union.

Leo Varadkar said the current arrangement between both sides is the “best one imaginable”, and that attempts to cherry-pick the benefits without the current responsibilities is “not realistic”.

When asked about fears of a potential hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, the Taoiseach told Bloomberg News: "I suppose where we’re confused and puzzled is very much at the premise of your question. What trade agreement does the United Kingdom want with the European Union?

"At the moment they have the best trade deal possible, the best one imaginable which is the customs union and access to the single European market and the European Economic Area.

"What they seem to be suggesting, all along really, from the last 14 months now is that they want to have all the advantages from being in the EU but none of the responsibilities and costs and that’s not a realistic position so we’re waiting to see what they would like to see."

Varadkar was speaking on a visit to Canada, which recently concluded a trade deal with the EU after years of negotiations.

The UK government last week laid out its intention to keep an open border between the two states in a bid to ensure "frictionless" trade can continue.






Picture credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA Images.

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