Varadkar warns Johnson that EU will have upper hand in post-Brexit trade talks

Support us and go ad-free

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned the UK that the EU will have the upper hand in post-Brexit trade talks.

In a footballing analogy, he warned that the bloc has a “stronger team” because of its far larger population and market in comparison.

Varadkar also suggested that prime minister Boris Johnson may run out of time to get a trade deal signed before the end of the year when the transition period finishes.

The Taoiseach, who is fighting a general election, spoke to the BBC ahead of meeting with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Dublin.

“The European Union is a union of 27 member states. The UK is only one country. And we have a population and a market of 450 million people,” Varadkar said.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

“The UK, it’s about 60 (million). So if these were two teams up against each other playing football, who do you think has the stronger team?”

Johnson has repeatedly ruled out requesting an extension to the transition period, during which the UK abides by EU rules, past 31 December.

But Varadkar, whose talks with the PM were seen as key in securing a breakthrough on the exit pact, questioned whether it would be possible to negotiate a full trade deal in time, saying “it will be difficult to do this”.

And he warned against any attempt by the UK to broker parts of a deal over time with the EU.

“When I hear people talk about piecemeal, it sounds a bit like cake and eat,” he said.

“That isn’t something that will fly in Europe.”

Support us and go ad-free

Do your bit for independent journalism

Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.

We need you to help out, if you can.

When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.

You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.

In return you get:

  • Advert free reading experience
  • Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
  • 20% discount from our shop

 

The Canary Fund us