December 8, 2017 / 9:23 AM / in a year

Irish PM cautious over two-year Brexit transition period

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar holds a press conference in Dublin, Ireland, December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The Brexit transition period of around two years envisaged in EU draft guidelines on Friday is a “decent amount of time” but a longer period could be needed to ratify a future trade deal, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

“Two years is a decent amount of time, we would be happy for it to be longer but we’re also comfortable with two years,” Varadkar told a news conference after hailing Friday’s agreement on the Irish border as “a very significant day” for the whole of the island.

“I would add one word of caution to having a transition phase of two years, obviously what we’re going to want to do is negotiate new treaties between the UK and EU. It can take many years to negotiate treaties and how long the transition phase should be, in my view, must be linked to how long it will take us to secure ratification of those treaties.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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