The Irish leader said the EU would have the’upper hand’ .
Leo Varadkar taunted Britain last night — saying it has become a’small country’ as it moves ahead with Brexit.
Boris Johnson signs the EU Withdrawal Agreement inside Downing Street.
Speaking in Dublin about the trade talks, Mr Varadkar told the BBC:’I do not believe the UK has yet come to terms with the fact it’s now a small country… I feel the truth of the situation is that the European Union is a union of 27 member countries. The UK is 1 country.
EU diplomats say the bloc is ready to play hardball.
‘And we have a population and a market of 450million people. The UK, it’s about 60 [million]. If these two groups were up against each other, who would be the stronger team?’
Leo Varadkar and Michel Barnier pictured meeting, the EU Brexit negotiator, now ahead of a meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin
His comments sparked fury from Brexiteers. Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said:’The UK has the equal GDP of 18 of the EU’s smallest 27 nations; is the largest export destination for the EU; the fifth largest export destination in the world; has the third most potent defence forces in the world… Small? Not really. The EU will be much smaller without our money and the UK.’
The documents also reveal demands for the European Court of Justice to have jurisdiction over trade disputes to’ensure consistent interpretation of the agreement’.
The remarks of mr Varadkar came as bargaining documents revealed Brussels will demand that fishing rights for EU trawlers are continued after Brexit. But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said:’We will be taking back control of our own fishing waters. The EU should be in no doubt about our determination on that matter.’
However, Mr Varadkar confessed Britain was on fishing waters in a’ very strong position’ while speaking to the BBC. (Pictured in the Irish leaders debate in Galway, Ireland, tonight with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald)
He warned the bloc would try to force concessions that were enormous on fishing rights for EU trawlers by exploiting Britain’s’weak position’ to Europe’s financial markets on access.
Mr Varadkar confessed Britain was in a’very strong position’ on fishing waters, which Mr Johnson has pledged to fully reclaim after Brexit.
But the Irish PM warned into allowing EU trawlers in its 29, the bloc could downgrade the City of London’s access to financial markets to dip the UK. He said:’If financial services and entertainment… are cut away from the single market, the European market, that’ll be a very serious blow to the British market. So, you may need to make concessions in areas like fishing.’