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Tony Connelly @tconnellyRTE
, 11 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
BREAKING: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says that the British Prime Minister Theresa May shd table a new proposal on the future customs relationship between the EU & UK within the next 2 wks, hints it cd see continued alignment btwn whole of UK and EU on customs into the future
the Taoiseach said the prime minister had given him some insights into what he called “new thinking” on the British side.
Varadkar: I said to the prime minister that any move that helped to align all of the EU and the UK in terms of customs into the future would be beneficial.
“It would help solve some of the problems related to the border but not all of them. It would certainly help us continue to trade between Britain and Ireland much as we do now.”
Following a 45 minute meeting on the margins of the EU-Western Balkans Summit, Mr Varadkar warned repeatedly that keeping the UK aligned on customs was not the only thing required to avoid a hard border.
Theresa May’s new thinking, he said, was presented “verbally and conceptually” and as such Dublin could not respond until it was presented as a formal written proposal in the Brexit negotiations.
Taoiseach said he was “not discouraged”by the meeting.
“The PM gave me an insight into some new thinking the UK government as in relation to customs. Obviously we’ll see how that develops. We haven’t been able to get any detail on that yet,but certainly any move on customs that brings the U.K. closer to the EU is to be welcomed.
He said he made it clear to the prime minister that Ireland would insist on its red line of a legally operable backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement, whatever progress was made on customs.
Asked if the Theresa May could deliver on a new customs relationship given the depths of opposition by hardliners in her cabinet, the Taoiseach said he believed she could, although it involved the “internal politics of the UK.
He said: “The position of the UK government is what she tells me it is and the position of the UK government is what they present to us in writing”
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