Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly says the UK should acknowledge that today’s new EU guidelines for a Brexit transition period will protect jobs and stability, in the UK, Ireland and across the EU.

Earlier today, the EU General Affairs Council released its draft guidelines on negotiations. The document details the EU’s position regarding any transition period – essentially that full EU standards, agreements and laws remain in place in the UK, but with the UK participating in EU bodies by invitation, and losing any voting rights.

Deputy Donnelly commented, “The position put forward in today’s new document by the EU echoes the positions already explained by Michel Barnier and senior EU politicians. Fianna Fáil agrees with the approach being taken by the EU, and believes that maintaining the current trading and legal relationships would provide much-needed certainty for citizens, farmers and businesses across the island of Ireland.

“It remains to be seen how the UK government will approach negotiations on a transition period. Compromise in the interests of both sides should be pursued where necessary. However, keeping the UK and EU27 economies fully aligned on issues of trade and law is the right starting point – for job protection and creation on both sides.

“Some members of the UK cabinet have signalled that they would like a short transition period. Regardless of what the time period is, it is important that any agreement includes a mechanism to extend it, if necessary, to avoid a disorderly Brexit.

“It is also welcome that today’s negotiating directives include the need for the Phase 1 December agreement to be written into the legal agreement. There are clear differences of opinion between the EU and the UK as to just how comprehensive the December agreement is. Any loosening up of the agreement increases the risks of border controls on the island, and that cannot be countenanced”.