Written answers

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Brexit Preparations

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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107. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his EU counterparts have discussed the action they will take if the new Prime Minister of the UK does not apply for an extension to the UK leaving the European Union on 31 October 2019; and the plans for such a scenario. [30017/19]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Any extension of the Article 50 process beyond 31 October would have to be based on a UK request, which remains a matter for the UK. Should the UK not ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, and in the absence of an agreed extension of Article 50, then the UK will leave with EU with no deal on 31 October.

In such circumstances, the EU would apply the contingency measures the European Commission and Member States have been preparing over the past two, and more, years and have been adopted in recent months.

At the EU level, this work has been set out in five European Commission Communications, the latest of which was published on 12 June, as well more than 90 Brexit preparedness notices and 8 question and answer documents. In the lead up to the 29 March deadline, the European Union adopted 18 primary legislative measures on a unilateral temporary basis to mitigate the worst effects of a no-deal Brexit, in a range of areas, from transport, fisheries, social security and PEACE/INTERREG funding, to education (Erasmus), mobility and trade.

At a national level, we continue to advance our extensive and detailed Brexit contingency work, including with our EU partners, to make sure Ireland is ready to the greatest extent possible.

This work is set out in detail in the updated Contingency Action Plan published yesterday. The Brexit Contingency Action Plan Update reflects the extensive work which has taken place on a whole-of-Government basis to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, and the work that will take place between now and 31 October. The Action Plan shows that while extensive mitigation work has taken place, the impacts of a no-deal Brexit will still be profound. This is an exercise in damage limitation.

Key areas for continued work will include preparing for Budget 2020, additional infrastructure for ports and airports, a new phase of the Government’s Brexit communications including an intensified engagement focussed on individual businesses.

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