Leo Varadkar says Britain needs to ‘tone down nationalistic rhetoric’ ahead of Brexit negotiations

Leo Varadkar says Britain needs to ‘tone down nationalistic rhetoric’ ahead of Brexit negotiations

LEO VARADKAR has warned Britain it will need to “tone down the nationalistic rhetoric” ahead of any Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

The UK officially left the EU on Friday but Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has work to do to negotiate a free trade agreement with Europe.

Speaking to Andrew Marr on BBC, Mr. Varadkar cautioned the UK government against repeating the mistakes made during the talks surrounding the Withdrawal Agreement.

“I think we all learned a lot, certainly, I’ve learned a lot from the past two-and-a-half-years dealing with Brexit and dealing with two different British prime ministers,” he said.

“One thing I’d say to everyone is let’s not repeat some of the errors that were made in the past two-and-a-half-years.

“Lets not set such rigid red lines that it makes it hard to come to an agreement and let’s tone down the kind of nationalistic rhetoric,” Mr. Varadkar added.

“As is always the case when it comes to negotiations, setting out so boldly such firm red lines actually makes coming to an agreement more difficult because the other party you are negotiating with doesn’t feel that they got a fair deal unless those red lines get turned pink or being in some way.”

The Taoiseach also warned the UK that the result of the upcoming Irish general election could significantly impact the post-Brexit trade negotiations.

“Negotiations will take place between the UK and the EU, but we’re very much plugged into the EU side. We’re part of the Team 27 and we have a lot of influence in that regard as the EU trade commissioner is an Irishman,” he said.

“I think there will be difficulty if we have trouble forming a government in Ireland.”

Mr. Varadkar also hit back at suggestions he timed the election to coincide with the talks.

“I chose this as a window of opportunity to have an election and to have a new government in place by that crucial European Council meeting in March,” he said.

“I know [Brexit negotiations] are something the Irish people will reflect on when they go to the polls at the weekend.

“They need to have a stable government because that’s essential to our government in so many ways.”