27 December 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Time to invest in building new relationships with “the remaining EU26”
“Now is the time to end the last vestiges of Ireland’s economic dependence on Great Britain and to expand our trade and economic relationships with the remaining 26 EU member states,” said Cork North Central based Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher.
The former TD, who is now a Renew Europe MEP was commenting ahead of the formal ratification of the Trade Agreement between the EU and the UK by the European Parliament that is expected in January 2021.
“Since independence, and increasingly since accession to the then European Economic Community, Ireland’s economic dependence on Great Britain has lessened.
“While there will be difficulties in the short to medium term, Brexit offers us an opportunity to further decrease our economic reliance on Great Britain.
“Of course, trade, east and west, between both islands, will always be important. However, we should now aim to put an end to the current situation where our economic fortunes are significantly dependent on our economic relationship with Great Britain.
“There are 26 other economics in the Union that are both tariff and customs free for Irish goods and products. We must increase both the volume and proportion of trade with our friends across the Union. Furthermore, we must explore markets outside the Union, such as India, the Middle East, Australia and emerging economies in Africa.
“We have, I believe, a once in a lifetime opportunity to reset our economic compass once Brexit occurs. Now is the time for all organs of the State to make it a top priority,” concluded Kelleher.