Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, has urged other European Union (EU) leaders not to “lose the plot” over the UK’s departure following the Brexit vote.
He said that the EU should avoid becoming obsessed with the details of the UK’s exit deal and should focus instead on a long view of its own place in the world. Kenny added that he was concerned that negotiations could become “quite vicious” because of an antagonistic relationship between the UK government and other EU member states.
“There are those around the European table who take a very poor view of the fact that Britain has decided to leave,” he stated at a public discussion held in Dublin, attended by political, business and civil society leaders from Northern Ireland and the Republic.
“Europe has got to decide for itself in these negotiations where it wants to be in the next 50 years. If it becomes obsessed with what the UK might or not get, then Europe itself loses the plot.”
He added that Ireland’s relationship with the UK remained good despite Brexit “and we intend to keep it that way”. However, Dublin is concerned by the prospect of a “hard” Brexit and the potential damage to the Irish economy were the UK to leave the single market and the EU customs union.
Both UK prime minister Theresa May and EU leaders including Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel and French president François Hollande have raised expectations in recent weeks of a clear break between London and Brussels.
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