EU Could Shift If U.K. Drops Brexit Red Lines, Irish PM Says

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union could show flexibility to the U.K. if it drops its Brexit red lines, which include exiting the customs union, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

Varadkar said Ireland wants a “future relationship between the EU and the U.K. to be close, comprehensive and ambitious.”

“I believe the only barrier to achieving this is the United Kingdom’s own red lines,”he said in a speech in Leuven in Belgium on Thursday. “If these change, Europe’s position can evolve too.”

The U.K. needs to sign up to solutions for solving the Irish border question to seal a withdrawal agreement, Varadkar warned. At present, the only realistic plan on the table for keeping the border invisible after Brexit is the EU’s “backstop” option, which would effectively keep Northern Ireland in the bloc’s customs union and parts of the single market if needed. That amounts to erecting a border between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, which the U.K. considers unacceptable.

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