Following the breakdown of cross-party talks in the UK about finding a Brexit compromise, Mairead McGuinness MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament has expressed concern at the ongoing impasse and malaise in UK politics which is having a detrimental effect on the EU and on the UK itself.
“After the European Council granted the UK an extension to October 31, Council President, Donald Tusk said, “Please don’t waste this time”.
“Yet what we have seen in the UK since then has amounted to political bickering within and between parties without any progress made and without any sense of urgency about breaking the Brexit deadlock. The focus is on domestic politics and not on the ticking clock of Brexit,” she said.
“The past weeks have been wasted and the UK is no closer to defining what sort of Brexit it wants, as the parties struggle for power and a battle begins for the Tory leadership.
“That sadly amounts to a failure of politics and has very worrying consequences for everyone – the UK, the EU and Ireland.
“We cannot rule out the possibility of a no deal Brexit and continue to prepare for that. At the same time we have to work night and day to avoid that worst-case scenario. We need voices in the European Parliament that will articulate the issues and work for solutions.
“We also need to make sure the tail isn’t wagging the dog – the EU and the new European Parliament will need to decide on the future of Europe, mindful of Brexit but not consumed by it,” she said.
She said next week’s European Parliament elections will be held in the UK even though the UK voted to leave almost three years ago.
The outcome of the elections in the UK will impact whether we can make progress.
“Meanwhile it looks like in Ireland the two additional MEPs to be elected look set to be held in limbo for the coming months,” she said.