head 3

It remains to be seen if EU-UK will reach an agreement on post-Brexit trade; talks will resume today in Brussels

DUBLIN: Indications are that the possibility of reaching an agreement on post-Brexit trade is fading. The Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin, who was a hundred percent optimistic about this, is now giving it a fifty-fifty chance. The EU and UK negotiators suspended their “work” after discussions on three issues, including fisheries, had not materialised.

Both the negotiators had suggested that a political decision should be made in this regard. They say the problem can only be resolved if the European Union and Britain reach a compromise. It is in this context that the leak of confidence among EU leaders, including the Taoiseach, is exposed. At the same time, it is a good sign that both sides have agreed to resume talks.

In a joint statement, Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson said there were significant differences of opinion on three key issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries. However, they have instructed their chief negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost, to meet again in Brussels today. Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney arrives in Brussels today for a meeting of EU foreign ministers. David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, and his team have already arrived in Brussels.

It is reported that the two negotiators are in line to continue talks and reach an agreement. The two sides are trying to reach an agreement on a future relationship and a trade deal. The two sides need to agree on three issues; fisheries, level playing field issue and dispute resolution mechanism.

Level playing is about ensuring that the EU or the UK do not compete with each other by lowering standards in the areas of employment, social rights, environmental protection and taxation, or by subsidising individual companies or industries.

At the same time the two mediators are preparing to restart the suspended discussions. The two sides have decided to continue talks in Brussels later today.

Ireland says no deal would be very damaging

The Taoiseach said a ‘no deal’ would be very dangerous for the EU countries. Therefore, Taoiseach Micheál Martin points out that it is common sense to reach an agreement by any means. “I think that the message to the Irish people and in particular to Irish businesses is to be very alert now and very vigilant in your preparations for Brexit, double down, make sure, check again that all of your preparations are in place,” he said. He added that no time limit has been set for reaching a final agreement.

Taoiseach shares the view that there should be an agreement at least in the interim. He hopes that this will help establish good relations with the UK and reach a long-term agreement.

Minister Simon Coveney said reaching an agreement is crucial for both sides. The UK is set to pass a tax bill this weekend that violates the withdrawal agreement. The foreign minister said the move would adversely affect the chances of reaching a deal. He said the non-existence of a structured futures agreement would be costly and devastating for the UK and Ireland. Mr. Coveney added that he hopes the negotiating teams and senior leaders will find a way to reach an agreement.

Meanwhile Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris said it was a good sign that the two sides had asked for negotiation to continue. David O’Sullivan, former EU Ambassador to the US, said today would be a crucial day.

Comments are closed.