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Varadkar says UK and EU will negotiate 'a mighty new economic partnership'

The Taoiseach has congratulated Boris Johnson after the outcome of the UK election.

Updated Dec 13th 2019, 10:40 AM

2.39752567 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Source: PA Images

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said he believes “a mighty” new economic partnership can be negotiated between the UK and the EU following the outcome of the British general election.

Varadkar also congratulated British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the Conservative Party securing a large majority in the election.

Speaking in Brussels ahead of the second day of an EU summit on climate change, Varadkar told reporters: “It’s a positive thing that we have a decisive outcome in Britain in their elections.

“We had for a few years a parliament that wasn’t able to form a majority around anything, we now clearly have a majority in the House of Commons to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Varadkar said the agreement ensures there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland and protects the Common Travel Area.

He said the focus must now turn to the “next phase” of Brexit and “negotiating a mighty new future economic partnership between the EU and the UK, and I think that can be done”.

The Taoiseach said he is also “keen to work very hard” with Johnson on getting the Northern Ireland Assembly up and running again.

“I think that’s absolutely crucial now and has to be a key priority for the next couple of weeks,” he added.

Border poll 

Tánaiste Simon Coveney echoed these sentiments with congratulating Johnson earlier.

“The Irish government and my department now stand ready to seize the momentum and focus on getting Stormont up and running for all the people and parties in Northern Ireland,” Coveney tweeted.

Helen McEntee, Minister for European Affairs, said the election result brings “certainty” about Brexit. She said the Irish government will now focus on the next phase of the trade negotiations, as well as restoring power-sharing in the North.

She told Morning Ireland the election’s outcome is “very decisive” and the government will now work with Johnson to strengthen Ireland’s relationship with the UK.

“Brexit still hasn’t happened, the focus has to be on getting the assembly up and running,” she stated.

“Now is not the time for a border poll,” she added.

This was the junior minister’s reaction as last night’s exit poll indicated a large victory for the Tories:

helen Source: HMcEntee/Twitter

European Council President Charles Michel also congratulated Johnson.

“We expect a vote on the withdrawal agreement as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the EU is “ready for the next phase” and “will negotiate a future trade deal which ensures a true level playing field”.

US President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations, adding that the UK and US will “now be free to strike a massive new trade deal after Brexit”.

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Órla Ryan

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