In Rotterdam today to bolster the Irish-EU position in the Brexit talks Mairead McGuinness MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament said negotiators are dealing with the outflow from divisive politics that pretends to have solutions but in reality has none.
Addressing a conference on ‘Countdown to Brexit, Are we ready’, which was also addressed by the EU’s Chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier the MEP said:
“This is the biggest challenge facing Ireland, the EU and the UK. It is of epic proportions and today’s warning from Airbus, which employs 15,000 people across 25 sites in the UK, that withdrawal without a deal on future trade would force it to reconsider its long-term position in the UK, gives a real insight as to the potential consequences of a no deal scenario.
“While some progress has been made on issues such as customs and VAT businesses need certainty so that they can prepare for the UK’s withdrawal.
“Businesses in the Netherlands, such as those at the Port of Rotterdam, trade a lot with the UK and are starting to prepare – but they face the same difficulties as Irish businesses, of not knowing exactly what they are preparing for. What is clear is that doing business with the UK will become harder,” she said.
Ms McGuinness said there must be no Withdrawal Agreement without a fully operation backstop.
“Today I heard a detailed understanding of the Irish position and strong Dutch support for Ireland as negotiations continue. And as we also heard from President Juncker in Dublin: the EU is united behind Ireland.”
She said Mr Barnier will present the state of play of the negotiations to the European Council (Article 50) which takes place on 28 and 29 June 2018. Negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement will continue over the coming weeks, together with the discussions on the framework for the future relationship.
“It is of grave concern that so much work needs to be done before October on the Withdrawal Agreement – and I’m worried by indications from the British side that the timetable may be pushed back even further,” Ms McGuinness added.