Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar | Photo by Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images
Irish PM: EU will have ‘strong hand’ in Brexit trade talks
Leo Varadkar also warned of ‘cake and eat it’ optimism among British politicians regarding the negotiations.
Updated 1/27/20, 12:20 PM CET
The EU will be in a better bargaining position than the U.K. in the post-Brexit trade talks, Irish leader Leo Varadkar said today.
“The reality of the situation is that the European Union is a union of 27 member states. The U.K. is only one country,” he said in an interview with the BBC, adding that the bloc’s larger population and market gave it the “strong hand.”
“So if these were two teams up against each other playing football, who do you think has the stronger team?” he asked.
Varadkar — who is meeting Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Dublin today — also warned of undue optimism among British politicians regarding trade talks with the EU, insisting that “the final deal, the new relationship will have to be comprehensive.”
The discussion in the U.K. “sounds a bit like cake and eat it,” he said. “You know, let’s have a trade deal in the areas where we have an advantage but not in the areas where we don’t — and that’s not fair.”
“That isn’t something that will fly in Europe,” he added.
In order to get a trade deal, the EU and the U.K. would have to agree on a “common set of minimum standards,” he said,