Varadkar: We need to get into the details of the Brexit deal

The Taoiseach is attending his first World Economic Forum

Varadkar: We need to get into the details of the Brexit deal

A session at the annual meeting 2018 of the World Economic Forum in Davos | Image: World Economic Forum/Faruk Pinjo

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the details of a deal that will see Britain leave the European Union need to be worked on.

Mr Varadkar is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Along with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, he is presenting Ireland's strengths to potential investors, and will also show the country's determination to secure a favourable outcome in the Brexit negotiations.

He is also set to highlight Ireland's desire to play a leading role in the ongoing debate on the future of Europe.

His programme includes meetings with leaders of multi-national high-tech, pharmaceutical and financial services firms.

Both the Taoiseach and Minister Donohoe will participate in an event organised by IDA Ireland for senior executives of major international companies.

The Taoiseach will also take part in events focused on international developments - including peace and security, poverty and inequality.

He will participate in a live panel debate, during which he will outline Ireland's commitment to the European Union.

'Translate Brexit deal into legal text'

Speaking to Bloomberg TV, he said there needs to be more clarity over Brexit.

"I think what would be most helpful would be a better understanding of what the new relationship the United Kingdom would like.

"So what we've heard for a long time is 'we want the relationship to be as close as possible, as deep as possible' - and those are encouraging words, but we'd like to see that fleshed out".

On the Irish border issue, he said: "The agreement that we came to back in December contains an assurance from the UK government that no matter what there won't be a return to the hard border.

"We believe in fact that can be best achieved by a very close relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union."

"What we had in December is a joint report agreed between the United Kingdom and the European Union... and we're very happy with that outcome.

"It contains the commitments that we sought and needed - so now the next thing is to translate that into the legal text in the withdrawal agreement, and we expect that to be done.

"And also we want to begin negotiations on the transition phase - because I think it's in the interests of business and of citizens that there is a transition phase that allows people to adapt to any permanent changes that may take place".

On what type of deal the UK could see, Mr Varadkar said: ""I would like to see the United Kingdom remain the single market and the customs union - now they've said that they don't want to do that, and I respect that.

"But perhaps we can negotiate something that isn't very different to that."

"We would have it Norway-Plus but I think we need to get into the detail now as to what that means.

"It's been quite some time since this referendum happened, and we really need to get down and dirty with the detail".

Brexit meeting

Minister Donohoe will also attend a number of forum events and will participate in a high-level panel on international tax issues.

He will have a number of political and business-related meetings, including with the EU's chief negotiator on Brexit Michel Barnier.

The forum was established in 1971 and engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

The theme of this year's meeting is 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World'.

Other speakers include Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron and Irish founder of 'Minnie Mélange' Sinéad Burke.