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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD, and Michel Barnier meet to discuss Brexit enterprise agenda

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD, today (Monday, 10th July 2017) met with Michel Barnier, the European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union.

The Tánaiste and Mr Barnier discussed the progress made to date in the negotiations, noting the detailed work underway through Article 50 working group on citizens’ rights, and financial liabilities. The Tánaiste reaffirmed Ireland’s full support for the EU 27 approach to the negotiations. The Tánaiste highlighted the depth and breadth of trade links that exist between Ireland and Britain. Specifically, the Tánaiste emphasised Ireland’s priorities, including the importance of protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the necessity of avoiding a hard border.

She also stated that “Today was a useful opportunity to discuss Ireland’s concerns in relation to enterprise and trade with Michel Barnier, and more importantly, to highlight the types of solutions that might be considered to support firms that are especially impacted by Brexit. It is clear to me, that Michel Barnier and his team are well prepared for these negotiations, based on extensive consultations with Ireland and our fellow Member States over recent months. I look forward to further engagement with Mr Barnier”.

Looking forward, in the light of her visit to Brussels, the Tánaiste noted the importance of ensuring that appropriate transition arrangements are in place to avoid any cliff edge scenarios. The Tánaiste said that “If the UK proposes to leave the single market and the customs union, then it will be necessary to ensure certainty through an eventual agreement to be reached on future relations between the EU and the UK. Of course, the complexity of negotiating such a deal would require a transitional period during which an appropriate framework to minimise disruption to trade and to the economy would be needed, which could include continued membership of the customs union.”


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