Leo Varadkar: On Brexit, Ireland’s ‘on Team EU’

The EU is “in a very good spirit to go as fast as possible, to work as hard as possible, day and night, to move forward quickly” on Brexit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.

And she can rely on Ireland’s support, with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar declaring that his country is “on Team EU.”

The two were speaking at a press conference in Dublin.

Von der Leyen said “it would not have been possible to reach this [Brexit] agreement without the very hard work, patience and the unity of everybody here in Ireland.”

But she warned the U.K. that “the closer they want to be to the single market, of course they have to align to the rules of the single market. The less they want to abide by the rules of the single market, the more distant they will be, the more difficult it will be to have access.”

Varadkar said that when it comes to Brexit, “it is only half-time.”

He added: “It is our desire that it should be an agreement in which there are no quotas, no taxes, the minimum text and administration necessary but there also has to be a level playing field so that the single market and the customs union are not diluted. And we must have common minimum standards, so that the U.K. doesn’t attempt in any way to undercut the EU when it comes to labor standards, environmental standards, health and safety, product standards.”

“Speaking to the prime minister [Boris Johnson] last week, I think he understands that,” he said.

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