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UK MUST follow EU rules! Leo Varadkar says Brussels has power to BLOCK Britain from market

IRELAND’s deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar has said that the UK’s access to the European market is “not unconditional” as he sought to dampen the bright mood among Brexiteers over Boris Johnson’s trade deal.

PUBLISHED: 12:20, Sun, Dec 27, 2020 |


The Tanaiste said the UK-EU trade deal allows British businesses to have access to the single market but certain conditions would be attached. He told Newstalk: “It does still give them access to the European single market, a market of 400 million people, the biggest and wealthiest market in the world.

“They don’t have to pay tariffs or quotas either which is advantageous to them.

“But it’s not unconditional. So what they have agreed to is what we call a level playing field.

“They have agreed to a non-regression clause in all but name, so we said you can only have access to the market if you don’t reduce your standards when it comes to workers’ rights, the environment, health and safety, product standards – all of those things.


Leo Varadkar said the UK’s access to the single market is not unconditional (Image: GETTY)

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Leo Varadkar has issued a warning to Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)

“If they do reduce their standards or don’t keep with our standards then that access to our market could be threatened.

“They have to largely follow European rules where they are relevant.”

He risked angering Brexiteer suggesting the UK could be punished for straying too far from EU rules and regulations.

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Boris Johnson announced his Brexit trade deal on Christmas Eve (Image: GETTY)

He acknowledged the UK has the sovereignty and power to decide its own course, but warned of consequences.

Mr Varadkar said: “But if they do deviate too much then they lose access to the market and the truth is the lunar pull isn’t a bad analogy.”

He said as the UK seeks to carve out its own path away from the EU it must remember that it is “surrounded by a massive market on all sides”.

He added: “You can’t get away from the obvious geography that Britain is in Europe, geographically, and if Europe is the Earth then Britain, which is much smaller, is the moon.

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Michel Barnier speaks shortly after the deal was announced (Image: GETTY)

“There’s no way to take Britain out of Europe, you can take Britain out of the EU, but not Europe.

“The reality is when you are surrounded by a massive market on all sides you are always going to have to be cognisant of the fact that that market has rules and regulations.”

Mr Varadkar’s comments come after Taoiseach Micheal Martin welcomed the UK’s trade deal with the EU last week. 

Brexit: Anneliese Dodds slams government’s ‘thin’ deal



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The UK’s chief Brexit envoy Lord Frost (Image: GETTY)

Referring to the UK’s decision to bow out of the club of nations, he said “though I respect it, I very much regret the decision”.

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