20 October 2017
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has welcomed an apparent change in tone by EU leaders toward accelerating Brexit talks with the United Kingdom.
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
Commenting after EU Council President Donald Tusk indicated that Brussels would make internal preparations for commencing trade talks, Mrs Dodds said:
“The outcome of this week's EU summit in Brussels strikes a more positive note on the current state of Brexit negotiations than previously times. Mr Tusk has suggested that talks are not as deadlocked as widely reported in the media, particularly in areas such as citizens rights. This is to be welcomed.
However to those of us who wish to see a smooth and swift resolution this change in tact is bittersweet. EU leaders have chosen to continue blocking the commencement of future trade talks with the UK. Whilst Brussels will now make internal preparations for these negotiations, they are not expected to begin until December at the earliest. This is unacceptable.
The reality is that while progress has been achieved toward agreeing joint principles on the retention of the Common Travel Area (CTA), challenges facing the movement of goods on a cross-border basis remain unaddressed. These challenges cannot be resolved - or comprehensive solutions put in place - unless the terms of future EU-UK trade are clarified. The EU should not pretend otherwise. The issue of the border cannot be treated in isolation.
It is not just important to give clarity to businesses and households across Northern Ireland but also to those in the Republic of Ireland. The UK and Irish Republic trade in the region of £1 billion every week. Instead of providing a running critique of Northern Ireland's voice in the process, it would be wise for the Taoiseach to bring his influence to bear in Brussels and remind his EU counterparts what is at stake. Only by moving to the next phase of talks can we fully address our particular circumstances. This should happen and happen quickly.”