Seeing the potential implications of a no-deal Brexit should be a wake-up call for the UK about the importance of reaching a withdrawal agreement with the EU and a strong future relationship, according to Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness.
The MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament noted this following today’s publication by the UK Government of a first batch of technical papers on the implications of a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking at the Aldi Supplier Brexit Conference in The Heritage Hotel, Killenard, McGuinness said both sides, the EU and the UK, are preparing for the worst but must focus now on reaching a deal.
Commenting on the publication of the UK technical papers, McGuinness said: “I welcome the recognition of the UK’s unique relationship with Ireland in these papers.
However, it is concerning that the advice to businesses in Northern Ireland importing and exporting to Ireland only notes that more information will be provided in due course, while suggesting businesses take advice from the Irish Government.
“The EU is well aware of the consequences of a no deal, having published 68 preparedness notices already on the legal implications across many sectors.”
The MEP noted that this shows that EU negotiators have been focused on reaching a withdrawal agreement with the UK and ensuring an orderly exit.
With 80% of the deal already concluded it is vital that the major remaining issue, a legally-operational backstop for the Irish border, be concluded.
“Equally, we want to maintain as much as possible a strong trading relationship with the UK.
“With the publication of the UK’s no-deal scenarios, it should focus minds on reaching an agreement, rather than allowing the worst to happen,” she said.
McGuinness outlined three scenarios for the coming months.
“The best outcome is that, by early November at the latest, EU and UK negotiators complete the Withdrawal Agreement and reach a deal on the shape of the future relationship.
That means that after March 29, 2019, there is no sudden change – the transition period will begin and the UK will maintain what is essentially EU membership, minus representation in the EU institutions, until December 31, 2020.
“This would also be good news for business and for the agri food sector, meaning no immediate dramatic change, with time to work out details of the future relationship.
“The second possibility is a no-deal scenario, which would be bad for everyone.
“Thirdly, more time may be required to complete the orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU. In that event an extension of the Article 50 deadline past March 2019 would need to be requested by the UK.”
The MEP said that she believes the EU could be willing to provide for this to facilitate an orderly withdrawal, even if it would present political complications for both parties.
McGuinness said Aldi Ireland are to be complimented for the initiative to bring together its suppliers to discuss Brexit preparedness.