Sunday 4 December 2016

'Celtic corridor of the Republic, Northern Ireland and Scotland' idea appeals to Sturgeon

Published 29/11/2016 | 11:41

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

Opinion is hardening in EU member states against the position of the UK because the latter is not being clear about what it wants, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

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Ms Sturgeon said other EU governments were hearing comments from Britain that suggested the UK wanted to “have its cake and eat it”, keeping elements of the EU that it wants, and jettisoning those it doesn’t like.

The First Minister also told business leaders that she would be in favour of a “Celtic corridor” of closer cooperation between Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic.

“Of course there will be an element of bad feeling and frustrations that a country has chosen to leave the European Union,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“But I don’t believe and I’ve never believed that it inevitably has to be an acrimonious process. I think what is happening though is that there is a hardening of opinion on the part of other European member states against the position of the UK. I guess that’s because the UK is still not being clear as to what it wants. In addition to that, other member states are hearing comments that suggest the UK can have its cake and eat it.

“There are lots of frustrations that the position of EU nationals living in the UK is still uncertain and hasn’t been resolved. And of course some of the rhetoric that came out of the Conservative Party conference some weeks ago were very unhelpful.”

Ms Sturgeon was attending a business event hosted by Ibec. It is her second and final day in Dublin.

Responding to questions, Ms Sturgeon said she liked the idea of a “Celtic corridor of the Republic, Northern Ireland and Scotland”.

The Minster for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Maxwells Dublin
The Minster for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Maxwells Dublin

“I think there’s a lot of potential around that,” she said.

She said there was also strong joint interest and cooperation between the three UK devolved administrations.

Ms Sturgeon said she does not believe that a second EU referendum will happen, or that it will “fly politically”.

“It’s really important to try to influence the direction of travel now to try and get things going down a direction now that is more sensible  than the one we appear to be going down just now,” she said.

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