Continental EU countries have been supportive of the Irish Government’s position in the Brexit talks, specifically regarding the backstop and the avoidance of a hard border in Northern Ireland. This has been interpreted as an example of EU solidarity with smaller member states, a shorthand narrative which cannot constitute a full explanation.

Solidarity with smaller members was not much in evidence during the eurozone crisis, as Irish taxpayers will recall. When the European Central Bank (ECB) extorted billions in payments to unguaranteed bondholders in bust banks, not a finger was raised in Paris or Berlin. Citizens of Cyprus and Greece will have similar recollections.