Good morning. At the end of this week the UK will leave the European Union. But if Boris Johnson thinks that this will amount to getting Brexit done, he’s wrong, according to his Irish opposite number, Leo Varadkar. “We’re only at halftime on Brexit, it’s not done yet,” he told the BBC, in an interview with its political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
In the interview Varadkar more or less explicitly said that, if the UK wants British banks to be able to continue to have access to the EU financial services market after Brexit, it is going to have to let EU boats continue to fish in British waters. Asked if the proposed UK-EU trade deal would end up being limited or piecemeal, Varadkar, who is of course in the middle of a general election campaign, replied:
I think we’ll have to be comprehensive. You could have a bare bones interim agreement, but whatever final future economic partnership we come up with, I think it will have to be quite detailed.
Because what happens in these things is trade offs. For example, the United Kingdom has a very strong position on fisheries. The UK has a lot of waters, and a lot of fish is taken out of your waters by boats from other countries, but bear in mind 70% of the fish you sell, you sell into Europe. So unless British people are going to start eating an awful lot more fish, you have a problem there.
But that’s an area where you’re in a strong position. An area where you’re in a very weak position is one of the most valuable parts of the British economy which is financial services. It’s such a crucial part of the of the British economy. And areas like the entertainment industry. And if financial services and entertainment, audio visual, are cut off from the single market, the European market, that will be a very severe blow to the British economy and the south east, in particular in London.
So, you know, you may have to make concessions in areas like fishing in order to get concessions from us in areas like financial services, and that’s why things tend to be all in the one package.
This has always been implicit in the EU negotiating position, but generally EU leaders have not up to now been as blunt as this in saying: Let us keep fishing in your waters, or your banks will take a hit.
There is a lot more in the BBC interview, and I will post further extracts soon.
Here is the agenda for the day.
8.45am: Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, meets Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, in Dublin.
11am: Downing Street lobby briefing.
2.30pm: Therese Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, takes questions in the Commons.
3pm: Barnier meets ministers from the Northern Ireland executive in Belfast.
5.30pm: Barnier gives a speech at Queen’s University Belfast.
As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary when I wrap up.
You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here. Here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.
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