06 November 2017
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has called on Her Majesty’s Government to resist attempts by Brussels to use Northern Ireland as a bargaining chip
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
Commenting after meeting the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Brussels, Mrs Dodds said:
"I welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State to reiterate the DUP’s priorities within the ongoing Brexit negotiations. In particular, Northern Ireland must not be used as a bargaining chip as the EU seeks to extract a divorce bill from the UK.
On many areas there is common ground between London, Dublin and Brussels. This includes agreeing joint principles on retaining the Common Travel Area (CTA), which will allow people on both sides of the border to travel for work and leisure without restriction. The Government should try to get this work over the line as early as possible to give certainty to communities affected.
Challenges regarding the movement of goods cannot be fully resolved until talks on future UK-EU trade begin. The current Brussels block on these discussions is unjustified and is preventing clarity for businesses not just in Northern Ireland but in the Republic of Ireland too.
Special status is no antidote to challenges facing the border. 72% of trade flows in and out of Belfast Harbour are with Great Britain. Cutting Northern Ireland adrift from our primary marketplace would be disastrous. Even the Irish Farmers’ Association have rejected an all-island agri-food solution as they realise the importance of the GB market.
The DUP will not countenance internal borders within the UK single market.
The EU has said the outcome must uphold the Belfast Agreement but this must not give Brussels license to renegotiate the terms of cross-border relations to serve their own interests. Brussels has made a positive contribution to progress in Northern Ireland through consecutive PEACE programmes. However, its final act should not be to overreach into affairs over which it has no authority.
UK negotiators should uphold the right of locally elected politicians to make decisions on the future direction of Northern Ireland.”