The Irish premier Leo Varadkar has said that the UK will not be able to leapfrog unresolved issues to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU in a no-deal Brexit.
The Taoiseach said in the wake of a no-deal Brexit future talks on a trading relationship will not start until citizen’s rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border are resolved.
He further said that no-deal is not inevitable and that he is not being “fatalistic” however, the risk of a disorderly exit from the EU is increasing as the clock is ticking.
Varadkar said, “There are people who have perhaps become frustrated with the Brexit process and they are almost saying to themselves ‘you know, at least if we have no deal on the 31st of October it’s all over and it’s all done’.
“What I am saying is it doesn’t end of the 31st of October, if we have no deal we are going to have to talk and the first things on the agenda are going to be citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the solution to the Irish border, before we even start to talk about a free trade agreement.”
He added, “If there is a deal, we are going to enter into several years of negotiations on a new free trade agreement with the UK and a new economic and security partnership.”
“So, Brexit isn’t a storm that we weather or a severe weather event that we prepare for, it is a permanent change in relations between the European Union, including Ireland, and the United Kingdom. I think that needs to be borne in mind.”
He insisted that there is scope to offer clarifications on the deal and to make changes to the future relationship.
Speaking on a no-deal he said, “I don’t accept it’s unavoidable.”
“There are many ways by which a no-deal can be avoided. Either by the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, a further extension or revocation of Article 50.
“So, there are a number of ways that a no-deal can be avoided on the 31st of October. I am certainly not fatalistic about that.”