LEO VARADKAR HAS been speaking to Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos today – telling the broadcaster it’s time to get “down and dirty” on the detail over Brexit.
The British government has said it hopes to reach terms for a transition deal for leaving the EU by the end of March. (And the EU’s negotiating guidelines were published by Channel 4 today).
Marathon talks carried out before Christmas resulted in the UK and EU agreeing to the retention of a free-flowing border in Ireland – a deal which the Taoiseach described at the time as “bulletproof”.
“I would like to see the United Kingdom remain in the single market and the customs union,” he said today.
Now they’ve said that they don’t want to do that, and I respect that – but perhaps we can negotiate something that isn’t very different to that.
Asked what he thought the final agreement would look like, he said it would be a “new agreement”.
“We would have it Norway-plus but I think we need to get into the detail now as to what that means,” Varadkar said.
It’s been quite some time since this referendum happened, and we really need to get down and dirty with the detail.
Norway has an arrangement with the EU whereby it has full access to the single market, makes a financial contribution to the union and accepts most EU laws. Like Iceland, it is a member of the European Economic Area.
UK Brexit Secretary David Davis insisted yesterday that he expects to reach agreement on the terms for a transition deal for leaving the European Union by the end of March.
The UK is set to officially leave the EU in March 2019, but plans to abide by many of the EU’s rules for around two years to make the transition more orderly.
The structure of the transition deal, which is expected to run until 2020/21, is the cause of heated debate.
He told a Westminster committee yesterday:
I’m relaxed about transition because my primary concern is about the future relationship, that’s what matters, that’s what people will judge us on in 10, 20, 30 years time.
Davis said that during this period, “we will be replicating to a very large extent the operations of the single market and customs union” and that Britain would remain subject to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
- with reporting from AFP