Brexit: ‘With imagination and goodwill on both sides, a deal can still be struck’

MEP Billy Kelleher feels that “with imagination and goodwill”, a Brexit deal can be struck between the EU and the UK.

Addressing the European Parliament and MEPs, chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that a deal is “within reach” and this view has been echoed by a number of Irish MEPs.

Speaking to EuroParlRadio, Kelleher said that it needs to be ensured that every effort is made to find compromise. He said that the EU side has extended an olive branch and now one must be extended by the UK.

“What we want now is an olive branch from the UK’s side; for them to drop their dogma and their ideological view on Brexit and just to look at the practicalities and the implications for UK citizens, for Irish citizens and for European citizens.”

He said that the potential for a no-deal could cause “devastation” for economies, particularly because of the pressure on them already from the pandemic.

‘Dramatic and theatrical claims’

MEP Barry Andrews says that negotiations will intensify, despite Boris Johnson’s “dramatic and theatrical claims” over the weekend that it was “all over”

“Of course they’re not over and they won’t be over until they’re finished,” Andrews said.

And even if this goes past into a no-deal, the discussions will start on January 1 about how to remediate it all.

‘It’s just all nonsense and rhetoric for his [Johnson’s] own domestic audience – appealing to their base by pretending that the talks were finished or on the ropes.

“Things are going ahead. Whether they achieve a deal this side of Christmas is hard to tell.”

EU agriculture ministers agree position on next CAP

Meanwhile, the EU’s Council of Agriculture Ministers has agreed its position on the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

This agreed position puts forward commitments from member states for “higher environmental ambition” with instruments like mandatory eco-schemes and enhanced conditionality.

The council’s position (which was agreed in the early hours of this morning, Wednesday, October 21) would allow member states to have flexibility in how they would reach environmental goals. For example, there would be a two-year pilot phase for eco-schemes, and member states would have flexibility on how to allocate funds under different “green practices”.

The agreed position gives the council as a whole a negotiating position to take into talks with the European Parliament, which is due to decide its position on CAP this week as well.

Julia Klochner, the German agriculture minister (who has led the council meetings in the last two days as Germany currently holds the European presidency), said: “Today’s agreement is a milestone for Europe’s agricultural policy.

“Member states demonstrated their ambition for higher environmental standards in farming and at the same time supported the needed flexibility in ensuring farmers’ competitiveness. This agreement fulfils the aspiration of a greener, fairer and simpler CAP,” Klochner added.