09 March 2018
Responding to comments by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk after his meeting with the Taioseach in Dublin this afternoon, DUP MEP Diane Dodds said:
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
“The European Council President today claimed that Brexit talks on the border are ‘a matter between the EU27 and the UK, not Ireland and the UK’. This leads us to question why Dublin would choose to block bilateral talks with the UK Government on practical solutions.
Mr Tusk’s comments suggest the EU will again hold up the trade talks if the December fall-back option of alignment is not legally translated. Far from putting ‘Ireland first’ this will generate further frustration among Republic of Ireland businesses dependent on access to their primary marketplace in the UK. These include Irish agri-food firms which export around 40% of their produce to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The UK has a clear role to play in bringing forward acceptable proposals. However if the EU is genuine about finding agreement it must accept this requires the buy-in of both sides. Instead of tipping his hat to the process-driven bravado of Brussels we would call on Mr Varadkar to adopt a more cooperative, hands-on approach which remains in our mutual interest.’’