Written answers

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Brexit Issues

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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158. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the Chequers agreement following the informal EU Council meeting in Salzburg. [39542/18]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The UK Government White Paper of 12 July, following the UK cabinet discussions at Chequers, on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union remains the stated position of the UK Government on the framework which is to be agreed alongside the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement. The EU’s negotiating approach remains as set out in the European Council Guidelines of April 2017 and March 2018.

The Government has been consistently clear that Ireland wants the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK, including on trade, in order to minimise the impact on our trade and economy. At the same time, it is vital to our economic interests that the EU's Single Market and Customs Union are fully protected.

The Government acknowledged in June that the Chequers/White Paper proposals represented a useful contribution, but that much detailed analysis and discussion was required.

As reported by the EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, at the General Affairs Council (Article 50) on 18 September, in early discussions there has been a convergence of views in some areas, notably on future EU-UK cooperation on foreign policy and security, both internal and external. However, it is also clear that there are very substantial differences, in particular relating to the proposed future economic partnership. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, stated in Salzburg last week that the proposals on the future economic partnership will not work, not least because they risk undermining the Single Market.

It is now for the two sets of negotiators to take forward their work on the framework for the future relationship taking account of their respective positions. At the same time, it remains essential, as underlined at Salzburg, that the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, is also concluded as soon as possible.

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