Saturday 18 November 2017

Brussels 'has Ireland's back' in Brexit 'challenge'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny shakes hands with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in Brussels. Photo: REUTERS
Taoiseach Enda Kenny shakes hands with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in Brussels. Photo: REUTERS

Sarah Collins and Colm Kelpie

The European Parliament's president has thrown his backing behind Ireland in future Brexit talks.

After meeting the Taoiseach in Brussels yesterday, Antonio Tajani said Brexit would be "a particular challenge" for Ireland and he would "take into account Ireland's concerns".

"Firstly, Ireland must ensure that its economy and trade, that is deeply linked to the UK, is protected," Mr Tajani told reporters.

"Secondly, it must ensure that the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement, which gave us peace in Northern Ireland, are included in any future agreement between the UK and the European Union. Both issues will have the full attention of the European Parliament."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was on his second whistle-stop tour of Brussels in as many weeks, which took in the EU's three main institutions.

He met the commission's lead negotiator Michel Barnier, who - according to a government spokesman - agreed to "intensify the already close engagement" with Ireland ahead of the UK's notice to quit the EU, due by the end of the month.

Donald Tusk, who chairs the meetings of the 27 EU leaders, was more circumspect, tweeting - in Irish - that he had a "worthwhile" meeting with Mr Kenny.

Disruption

Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service has warned that Brexit could be worse for Ireland than initially thought, with lower export growth and a deeper disruption to business.

Added to that, potential changes in tax policies in the United States also risk harming the State's public finances as the majority of corporate tax receipts come from US multinationals, the body said.

Some form of Border controls were likely to be put in place between Northern Ireland and the Republic post-Brexit, Moody's said, and any upsides in terms of increased financial services investment could be dented by the housing crisis.

"The impact on Ireland's medium-term growth prospects could be significant," Moody's said. "Most of the negative impact would be felt within the first three years after the UK's actual exit. The impact on Ireland's medium-term economic growth prospects could well be larger than what had been assumed initially."

Moody's pointed out that supply chains were deeply integrated between Ireland and the UK, and could face disruption.

Read more: Colm McCarthy - Brexit talks will force us to make some difficult choices

In many manufacturing sectors, nearly half of all imported intermediate goods, for use in Irish production processes, were sourced from the UK, Moody's said.

"Some form of border controls will likely have to be reintroduced between the Republic and Northern Ireland, adding to the trade disruption," it said.

Moody's also said that plans for US corporate tax reform under President Donald Trump could be an "immediate and relevant" risk for Ireland.

Irish Independent

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