Thursday 24 May 2018

EU will warn UK to keep its pledge on soft Border

European Union President Donald Tusk is due to meet the Taoiseach in Dublin today to discuss the negotiating guidelines and the EU’s withdrawal agreement. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
European Union President Donald Tusk is due to meet the Taoiseach in Dublin today to discuss the negotiating guidelines and the EU’s withdrawal agreement. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Shona Murray

The European Parliament will vote next week on another motion to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the rights of people in Northern Ireland.

Ahead of the crucial EU summit in Brussels, MEPs will use the motion to state that the UK "must keep to its commitments to ensure that there is no hardening of the Border on the island of Ireland".

It also suggests that an association agreement with the UK after Brexit could be the solution for its future partnership with the EU.

An association agreement would provide for a bespoke relationship and would allow for a "customs partnership" that might allow talks to progress, said Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes.

However, European Council President Donald Tusk put forward draft negotiating guidelines which limited the relationship to a free-trade agreement because of the British government's insistence it is leaving the EU single market and customs union.

Mr Tusk is due to meet the Taoiseach in Dublin today to discuss the negotiating guidelines and the EU's withdrawal agreement.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Transport Minister Shane Ross are meeting representatives of the aviation industry about Brexit today.

The industry is facing major complications as a result of the UK leaving the EU - in particular in relation to the EU's Open Skies Agreement which facilitates travel for all EU members as well as some others. Unless Britain renegotiates membership of the agreement, all flights from UK airports will be grounded as soon as the UK leaves the EU. There are also concerns about ease of travel and immigration controls.

Moreover, as each airline is represented by the country in which its company is registered, it may cause serious problems for Aer Lingus which is owned by a British-registered company, IAG. The same applies for Ryanair, in that it is not an Irish company either in this respect, as it has a shareholder register.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary warned that airlines would be forced to cancel post-Brexit services from March 2019 if no agreement was reached in the negotiations by September, as schedules are planned around six months in advance.

He also threatened to ground planes after the UK leaves the EU to persuade British voters to 'rethink' Brexit.

He said at a meeting in Brussels: "I think it's in our interests."

Irish Independent

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