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British, EU level trade playing field possible but difficult: Irish PM

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar arrives at the European Union leaders summit dominated by Brexit, in Brussels, Belgium October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - There is scope for the European Union and Britain to agree to maintain equal standards in a future trade deal, but coming to such an agreement will be hugely difficult, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Friday.

“I think there is scope to come to agreement on a level playing field but I don’t want to create the impression for a second that there aren’t going to be huge difficulties in some areas,” he told a news conference.

“One of the ones that’s emerging even today and is almost first up in many ways is the issue of fishing and fishing rights and we are very much of the opinion in the government and in the European Union that the whole issue of fishery rights can’t be divorced from the wider settlement on trade.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by John Stonestreet