15 September 2017
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has rejected a careless suggestion by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, that the Republic of Ireland should join the Schengen Area after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
Commenting , Mrs Dodds said:
“The suggestion that ‘full’ membership of Schengen ‘should be the norm’ for all EU states on the day Brexit takes place is a frankly ludicrous one. This would almost certainly spell the end of the Common Travel Area (Area) between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
In typical fashion, Mr Juncker’s has demonstrated enthusiasm for a federalist Europe without care for the practical consequences. It is clear through this careless statement that he has lost the run of himself. The UK-Irish opt-out from the Schengen bloc allows the free movement of people living and working across our two jurisdictions. It will be the bedrock of social and economic relations across the border after Brexit.
The reality is that London, Dublin, Belfast and Brussels have all indicated a desire and willingness to retain the CTA. The European Council’s guidelines include a commitment to respecting current bilateral arrangements. Indeed Michel Barnier reported just a few days ago that discussions in this area had been ‘fruitful.’ Such progress would simply not be possible under Mr Juncker’s scenario.
The EU has rightly made these issues a key priority for early Article 50 talks, and we share the desire for an open and seamless border. However Brussels must realise that this is not a time for mixed messages. It is of course for the Republic of Ireland to chart its own course but I would call on the European Commission to clarify these remarks and restate its commitment to respecting the CTA.’’