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Varadkar says Farage 'takes the biscuit' with 'hilarious' comment that the EU is 'stoking Irish nationalism'

Farage said the EU is doing it to make things difficult for the UK.

Updated 4pm

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Leo Varadkar has hit back at the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage for claiming that EU leaders are “stoking Irish nationalism” to make Brexit negotiations difficult for the UK.

Speaking on his radio show on LBC, Farage said that this amounted to “the most contemptible thing” EU leaders were doing in the early stages of Brexit negotiations.

As part of Brexit talks over the weekend, EU leaders agreed that Northern Ireland would automatically rejoin the EU if it reunited with the Republic.

This mandate appears to have angered Farage who made reference to it as part of a tirade against Brussels’ approach to Brexit talks.

“Worst of all, the EU have indicated that if Northern Ireland would opt to leave the United Kingdom and join up with Eire, there would be absolutely no problem in a new united Ireland virtually automatically becoming a member of the European Union,” he said.

So what they are doing to try and make Brexit negotiations difficult for this government, is they are prepared to stoke Irish nationalism and that all that could come with that. I have to say that that perhaps is the most contemptible thing that I’ve heard so far.

When asked by TheJournal.ie about Farage’s comment, Varadkar said:

“Nigel Farage is never short of making bizarre, critical and hilarious comments and for someone who is clearly a British nationalist – which is what he is – to accuse a globalist, pro-European government like ours of being nationalist really takes the biscuit.”

Brexit Bill

Another issue that has stirred anger in the UK are reports that the country’s ‘Brexit bill’ has been estimated at up to €100 billion.

The Financial Times has suggested Britain must settle bills of up to €100 billion before leaving the EU.

The figure is significantly more than the €60 billion figure previously mooted and the UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis said the government will not be bullied in negotiations.

“We will not be paying 100 billion,” he told ITV television’s Good Morning Britain programme, before adding that in financial terms, “we will obey our international obligations”.

“There are two sides to the negotiation and the other side will not determine who does what. She will be leading our negotiation. I will be supporting her,” Davis also told BBC radio.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will today unveil recommendations for the talks as tensions rise between the two sides.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2017 and Christina Finn 

Read: Theresa May dismisses rumours Brexit meeting with EU chief went badly as “Brussels gossip” >

Read: Here’s what Ireland’s Brexit strategy for the next two years looks like >

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Rónán Duffy

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