Please keep in clear sight the Brexit disruption to Irish business both North and South of the Border

Jul 09, 2018

This was the message conveyed directly by the Institute to EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at an IIEA Brexit event on Friday last attended by Dr Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation.  The event, convened by IIEA Brussels Chairman Ciaran Spillane FCA, was hosted at the offices of the Irish Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels.

In the course of his address Mr Barnier said that while he personally regretted Brexit, the UK’s decision was one that must be accepted and that orderly withdrawal from the EU is key.  He said that the relationship between the UK and the EU must go beyond trade and must also look at security, defence, data protection and justice.

Mr Barnier reiterated that there is still a lot of work still to be done in the Brexit negotiations and that time is running out.  On Northern Ireland, he said that the EU want a “cast iron guarantee” in the Withdrawal Agreement that a hard border will be avoided on the island of Ireland regardless of any agreement reached between the UK and the EU. To that effect, the back stop solution of Northern Ireland remaining aligned with EU rules will remain in the agreement in order to protect the integrity of the Single Market and the EU.  Mr Barnier said that on his recent visits to Northern Ireland, it was very apparent how acutely aware people are of the issues Brexit raises for Northern Ireland trade.

Mr Barnier said that the EU are willing to adapt to any workable solution that the UK puts forward and would like to find an agreement with the UK “not against” the UK.

You can listen to the speech here.