Leo can't afford to look like a soft touch after playing Brexit hardball
The Taoiseach has little room to manoeuvre, writes Dan O'Brien as he delves into the perilous politics behind the talks
Import taxes on Brazilian beef and New Zealand butter will be the same in Ireland and Britain on January 1, 2021 as they were the day before. They will not diverge, if they ever diverge, for some time after that date. This may not seem to be significant at first glance, but in the context of a hard border appearing on this island in the years ahead, it is potentially very important.
Last week the British prime minister, Theresa May, made this new offer in Brexit talks. It is yet another move that would delay the effects of Britain leaving the EU next March for people and businesses.
The essence of the much talked about European "customs union" is that every country levies the same taxes (called "tariffs" in the jargon of international trade) on stuff being imported from the rest of the world, from food to pharmaceuticals, and cars to computers.