Press Release: Areas in common but a long way still to travel

European Movement Ireland Statement regarding EU and UK Position Papers on Ireland and Northern Ireland

Dublin, Thursday 7 September, 2017:  Today the European Commission’s published guiding principles on Ireland and Northern Ireland. Michel Barnier, the EU Chief Brexit Negotiator, reiterated the EU’s aim to “minimise the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU for the island of Ireland.” 

In noting the body of work that is still be done, the Commission’s paper states that: “The onus to present solutions which overcome the challenges created on the island of Ireland by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and its decision to leave the customs union and the internal market remains on the United Kingdom”. 

Reflecting on today’s paper, Executive Director of EM Ireland, Noelle O Connell, said, “As the European Commission’s paper today makes clear, the UK government’s decision to leave both the EU Single Market and Customs Union means creative and viable solutions need to be found that take into account the unique impact Brexit will have on the island of Ireland. Resolution must now follow rhetoric.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit, Simon Coveney, TD, has held meetings with EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier (most recently on Monday 4 September) and has said that: “There is no doubt that Ireland’s interests are the EU’s interests.”   

Ms O Connell said that the European Commission position paper today clearly reflects this which is welcome.  Concluding, she said: “On the day after the triggering of Article 50, UK Prime Minister Theresa May wrote that she was committed “to make sure that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not harm the Republic of Ireland”.  Such sentiment is welcome; the challenge however, is to ensure practical solutions and sufficient progress is made on the unique issues the UK’s withdrawal creates for Ireland.  Ireland’s future remains in the EU and any solutions presented need to fully take this into account.”



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