COVID19 is in headlines, but Brexit still exists

27 April 2020
By Mary Bermingham

Time running out in Brexit negotiations; UK govt must get its act together fast – says Cork-based MEP Billy Kelleher

“Time is running out, and the British Government must get its act together in order to avoid a No Deal Brexit,” according to Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher.

The Ireland South MEP was commenting following today’s statement by the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier in which he identified four crucial areas where not enough progress has been made after two rounds of negotiations.

  1. The level playing field
  2. Overall governance of the future partnership between the EU and the UK.
  3. Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
  4. Fisheries.

“On each of these four issues, little to no progress has been made. In fact, in fisheries, the British government has not even put forward a draft legal text.

“Overall, it seems that the UK is unwilling to accept that due to its departure from the European Union, it must be treated as a 3rd country, and cannot have the same access and rights as the remaining EU 27 member states, including Ireland.

“Worryingly, despite the Covid 19 pandemic, the British government has so far refused to give any consideration to the idea of an extension to the current transition period that is scheduled to end on December 31st, 2020.

Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fail, MEP is based in Cork North Central

“Time is of the essence. The deadline of June 30th to decide on whether to extend the transition period past December 31st is of the UK’s making. They made it legally binding yet there seem to be no hurry on their side to find compromises and solutions, and agree what needs to be agreed.

“While agreement has been reached to make operational the elements of the Withdrawal Agreement needed to protect the 1.9 million people living in Northern Ireland who are entitled to EU citizenship, I am concerned that, , in light of the recent catalogue of Brexit failures to date, the British Government will not deliver on its promises.

“This is a very worrying time for everyone on the island of Ireland. We are all grappling with the impact of Covid 19. Our SMEs are already facing severe challenges. They now have to start immediately preparing for the potential catastrophic impact of a No Deal Brexit. I would urge the UK government to get its head in the game and deliver on its commitment to avoiding such a scenario,” concluded Kelleher.

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