Wednesday 18 October 2017

German business warns Brexit will cost Ireland 'jobs and growth'

After the Brexit vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel all but ruled out making Ireland a special case in the post-Brexit negotiations with Britain Photo: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
After the Brexit vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel all but ruled out making Ireland a special case in the post-Brexit negotiations with Britain Photo: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
DIT lecturer Brian Murphy Picture: Frank McGrath
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

German business leaders are warning Brexit will "create significant job losses" in Ireland, damage growth and harm trade.

An alarming new report on the impact of Brexit on this country also said a 'hard Brexit' with harsh terms for Britain could actually force Ireland towards the EU exit door, labelled an 'Irexit'.

The report by the German Chambers of Commerce Worldwide and the German-Irish Chamber of Commerce said "Ireland will unduly suffer" because of Brexit if our special circumstances are not understood in Brussels, Berlin and other EU capitals.

A hard Brexit is viewed in Europe as a way to dissuade other EU members from leaving in the belief they will retain the trade advantages of staying in the union. German business stands to lose from Britain's departure.

And there are tensions between German industry and the German government over the terms of the EU exit. German businesses want Britain, as a valuable trading partner, to retain some access to the single market.

The aim of the report is to inform the German public and decision-makers of the damage that Brexit can do Ireland.

After the Brexit vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel all but ruled out making Ireland a special case in the post-Brexit negotiations with Britain.

She declined to issue such guarantees, adding that Ireland's concerns would be treated on a par with those of the remaining 27 EU member states.

The German Brexit report, printed under the aegis of the German-Irish Chamber of Commerce, outlines the damage to Ireland.

"Ireland, as the EU member state most connected with Britain, will suffer most from the market volatility and unpredictability that Brexit brings in its wake.

"This report highlights how Brexit will damage Ireland's economic growth, harm trade and create significant job losses.

"The report also explains how Brexit will have distressing consequences for Ireland's key industries, including the FDI sector, agri-food, and tourism, and how Brexit could seriously impinge on Ireland's energy security," it said.

There is a clear warning about the knock-on effect of Brexit on Ireland's EU membership.

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"By imposing very harsh terms on Britain to discourage other member states from exiting the EU, the EU need to actively consider whether this will build momentum towards an 'Irexit', further undermining European cohesion," the report said.

"The purpose of this briefing paper is to make clear how intrinsically linked the Irish and British economies are and how Ireland will unduly suffer because of Brexit if Ireland's special circumstances are not understood in Brussels, Berlin and all of the EU capitals," the report said.

The report was drawn up by German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce chief executive Ralf Lissek, German Chambers of Commerce International and European Affairs deputy chief executive Dr Volker Treier and DIT academic Dr Brian Murphy (pictured left).

The report will be presented to Taoiseach Enda Kenny tomorrow, when he meets with its authors.

A delegation of journalists from Germany's leading media organisations currently visiting Dublin will also receive the report.

It will also be distributed to members of the German Parliament.

The board of trustees of the German-Irish Chamber of Commerce includes representatives of major German multinationals such as Bayer, Siemens, Miele Ireland and Deutsche Bank.

The German Ambassador to Ireland, Matthias Höpfner, is a patron of the organisation.

On Northern Ireland, the report said Brexit "cannot be allowed to undermine cross-border cooperation, economic reconstruction and growing rapprochement after centuries of division on the island of Ireland".

The report drew upon a wide range of research in the wake of Brexit.

Irish Independent

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