Referring to the goals, Mr Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach (prime minister), said: “Steer Ireland though the next phases of Brexit by securing a trade deal between the EU and the UK. Giving our business and farmers access to the British market. The is going to be really important to protect jobs and our economy, and has to be done by the end of 2020.”
But last Friday, the Taoiseach hinted at the difficulty of arranging a trade deal with a post-Brexit UK.
He said that “it’s going to be difficult to secure a good trade deal” in upcoming negotiations on a future relationship between the UK and EU because Mr Johnson “has fixed on a harder Brexit.”
Mr Varadkar added: “Guarantees on workers rights, for example, are being deleted from the agreement, and that’s a real concern for us, the harder approach being taken by Prime Minister Johnson is a risk to us and that is evident.”
Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit bill rules out any extension to the transition period beyond the end of 2020, meaning the UK and EU will have just 11 months to broker a free trade agreement, which would typically be expected to take several years.
If no trade agreement is agreed by the end of the transition period and no extension is agreed, the UK may still face an effective no-deal Brexit when the transition ends.
On a visit to British troops in Estonia, Mr Johnson was asked to respond to Mr Varadkar’s comments.
He replied: “What everybody wants to do is put Brexit behind us on January 31 and move on, and there’s a lot of goodwill and a lot of energy now about building the new deep and special partnership, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The next Irish general election will be held on or before April 10 2020 and Mr Varadkar has been blasted by Ireland’s opposition leader, Micheal Martin for failing to set a date in stone after Mr Johnson’s victorious election performance.
Following the Conservatives’ success on December 12, Mr Varadkar has been urged to layout a timetable for an orderly dissolution of the Dail, Ireland’s Parliament.
Mr Martin asked Mr Varadkar to do “the responsible thing and end the speculation and agree a date for the dissolution of the Dail, a date for the holding of the election.”
The Dail is currently closed for a month-long recess before reconvening on January 15.
Ireland’s premier is said to be furious over Mr Martin’s demands for an election and has refused to reply.
Instead he is calling for face-to-face talks with his opponent to be held either this week or after the Christmas holidays.
Government sources said Mr Varadkar had repeatedly asked Fianna Fail to agree on an election date for next summer.
One source close to the Taoiseach hit back at the claims in the letter, saying it was “ironic” for the opposition to be “claiming the moral high ground”.
Shortly after the Conservatives won the UK general election, Mr Johnson held a phone conversation with Mr Varadkar to discuss the next steps of Brexit.
The two men also vowed to work together to restore the power sharing government agreement in Northern Ireland
A spokesman for the Irish Government said: “They agreed there is now a significant opportunity to restore the Good Friday Agreement institutions, and pledged to work with the Northern Ireland parties to achieve this.
“They also discussed how to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Ireland and the UK.
“Both looked forward to the smooth passage of the Withdrawal Agreement.
“They agreed to stay in close contact in the period ahead.”
Referring to the goals, Mr Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach (prime minister), said: "Steer Ireland though the next phases of Brexit by securing a trade deal between the EU and the UK. Giving our business and farmers access to the British market.