Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has questioned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's fast-track time table which suggests that the United Kingdom will strike a deal with the 27-nation European Union by the end of 2020.
According to international media reports, Varadkar has also said that the European Union will have an upper hand in trade talks with the UK after Brexit. In the same interview, the Irish PM compared both sides to soccer teams and reportedly suggested that the EU would have a 'stronger team' due to the size of its population and the market.
While Johnson is hailing Brexit by January 31 as an 'important moment in history', Varadkar thinks that it would be 'difficult' for Britain to get legal assurances from the EU. Furthermore, the Irish PM said that both sides would have to agree on a 'common set of minimum standards' that would be of 'high standards'. Varadkar had expressed his apprehensions last year about the UK leaving the EU without a deal but had later regarded his meeting with Johnson as a 'breakthrough'.
Britain is just a few days away from opting out of its half a century-old European Union membership. The historic move to leave the 27-nation bloc is scheduled for January 31 at 11:00 pm (2300 GMT). Britain had entered the union in 1973. However, most changes with respect to UK's independence will not be immediate. They shall take place in the transition period negotiated between London and Brussels which would reportedly allow both sides to nurture their future relationship.
Even though the UK will no longer be represented in the EU, Britons will be able to work in and trade freely with the bloc nations until December 31 and vice versa. Ever since the 2016 referendum, the Brexit process has been followed by countless debates, criticism, and constant back-and-forth arguments between the EU and the UK -- and even the prorogation of the British parliament. It was this referendum which also led two British Prime Ministers to quit.
According to international reports, four years ago 52% Britons backed the decision of Brexit while 48% wanted to continue being a part of the union, splitting the country between 'leavers' and 'remainers'. However, the political chaos in London came to end with the snap general elections of December 12 that gave a landslide majority to Boris Johnson who is a fierce Brexiter.