The European Union is prepared to dig in and play a waiting game with Britain in order to win concessions over the Brexit deal, according to the Irish PM.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the EU is willing, if necessary, to wait and continue phase one of talks into next year before beginning discussions on any future trade deal.
Speaking in Gothenberg, Sweden, on Friday, November 17, ahead of an EU summit on social rights, Mr. Varadkar warned Dublin was opposed to the start of a trading relationship until Britain provided assurances about a post-Brexit border with Northern Ireland.
He is insisting on the UK providing written assurances over this key issue which has, so far, been a major sticking point during early negotiations between London and Brussels.
“The UK voted 18 months ago to leave the European Union. That’s a sovereign decision of the British people — we respect it. But the British government went further. The British government decided that the UK would leave the customs union, they would leave the single market, they have taken that off the table before we even talk about trade. What we want to take off the table before we even talk about trade is any idea that there would be a hard border, physical border or a border resembling the past in Ireland.”
His comments came before he met the British prime minister Theresa May for direct discussions over the issue.