Tuesday 6 December 2016

Brexit must change the Border arrangements with the North – Phil Hogan warns

Published 20/10/2016 | 14:56

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan

Britain's departure from the EU will have to change the Border arrangements in Ireland between North and South, EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan, has said.

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Mr Hogan said the view among EU leaders in Brussels was that Britain “cannot have its cake and eat it” – remaining half-in and half-out of the EU.

“The United Kingdom's choice is between Hard Brexit and No Brexit. And, it’s only No Brexit that can give us the border we have now,” Mr Hogan said.

The Irish Commissioner said the EU and the other member states were now well aware of Ireland’s concerns about the north-south relations, and the strong Ireland-UK relationship, including the common travel area.

He had discussed these matters with the EU’s Brexit chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and he believed Irish politicians and diplomats were busy informing other member states.

Mr Hogan said the Leave campaign had canvassed on half-truths and wrong assumptions. The upcoming leave negotiations to frame a new EU-UK relationship, due to begin next March, would be tough.

“Any deal, by its nature, will be inferior to the deal that the UK currently enjoys due to its membership of the EU. The UK is going to learn a hard lesson, it's not going to have its cake and eat it. The posturing and fancy talk of Brexit is already beginning to collide with reality,” Mr Hogan told the Oireachtas EU affairs committee.

Mr Hogan also said that the EU had its problems and shortcomings - but ultimately these were also problems and failings for member governments and the citizens of every member state.

“It's high time we stopped blaming the Union for everything that goes wrong while taking credit nationally for everything that goes right,” the Commissioner said.

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