“Calm, responsible leadership is needed across the European Union at this crucial time in the Union’s history. The EU was founded for peace and cooperation, to allow countries work together for the common good – that is still in everyone’s best interest”, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament said following the outcome of the UK’s Referendum vote on EU Membership.
“The UK electorate has voted and we respect that decision. However, the uncertainty that the outcome has created is of concern and was clearly evident in the markets since the indications of a Brexit becoming a reality.
“We need time to reflect on both the consequences of the decision for Ireland, the UK and the EU. We also need time to understand fully why the majority of UK citizens regard leaving the EU as positive and desirable. At a time when greater global cooperation is needed, UK voters have taken a decision to disconnect from its EU neighbours.
“However, there will be no overnight change, McGuinness said. The UK government must first notify the European Council of its intention to withdraw and this is now set to be delayed until October, according to the resignation statement of British Prime Minister David Cameron. Only then will a two-year negotiation period begin to put a Withdrawal Agreement in place.
“Also, all EU Treaties still apply to the UK until a Withdrawal Agreement is in place. And, all EU law already transposed into national UK law will remain law unless they are repealed.
“For Ireland, it is of vital economic and societal importance that our close trading ties, land border and special historical relationship with our closest neighbour is respected and that the EU recognises the importance of the relationship between Ireland and the UK,” McGuinness said.
MEP McGuinness added: “Just days before the Referendum, statistics were emerging from the UK showing that the electorate was very split in terms of age and support for the EU. Younger voters were more in favour of the EU, its values of equality, democracy, human rights and for the benefits of free movement and youth programmes like Erasmus. While those aged above 50 years were more inclined towards a Leave vote.
“What saddens me is that it is that young electorate that will pay the price for the narrow Leave victory of 51.9% and for generations to come, as it stands.”
As an MEP for the border counties in Ireland, MEP McGuinness welcomed An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s reassurance this afternoon that Ireland would put the best interests of the people of the island of Ireland first.
“Some 30,000 people cross the border every day. Communities are living and working together peacefully along the border and want that to continue, towards greater future prosperity. That must be our common goal and a common starting point in any negotiations,” she said.
“Now that the decision is made we must immediately work to ensure that the best interests of our relationships with the UK – both trade and political – is secured in any exit deal. And we must be mindful of the importance of strengthening the EU by making it work better for people”, she added.