Tuesday 19 March 2019

Minister warns against 'rolling cliff edges' if extension is granted


Sensitive mission: Paschal Donohoe was in London
Sensitive mission: Paschal Donohoe was in London
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A Brexit extension must not lead to a "scenario of rolling cliff edges" that would hit the economic stability of Europe, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has warned.

European leaders are considering what type of extension they would be willing to grant the UK next week if embattled Prime Minister Theresa May fails to get her divorce deal through parliament for a third time on Wednesday.

The focus has moved to how long Brexit could be pushed back for if the deal falls.

EU Council President Donald Tusk will be in Dublin on Tuesday to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and it is expected the shape of a potential Brexit extension could be discussed at that meeting.

Mr Tusk met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte yesterday and will meet with Angela Merkel and Emm-anuel Macron on Monday.

Mr Donohoe said Ireland would respond "very generously" to an extension request from Mrs May if one was forthcoming.

However, echoing concerns sounded across Europe, Mr Donohoe warned that the detail of the request will be paramount: "I believe that it is highly important that we do all we can to avoid being in this scenario of rolling cliff edges … particularly from a financial market stability perspective and economic stability.

"What we have said is that obviously the British government will need to decide, if they do want an extension, how long they will want it for, and we will be positive and constructive in relation to that, when they put it forward," he told Bloomberg.

The minister was in London for arguably the most sensitive of the government's St Patrick's Day missions abroad as European leaders began considerations on what type of delay could be granted for the UK's exit.

In the UK, the defacto deputy prime minister David Lidington said a long delay was inevitable if the prime minister's deal was not supported.

However, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said that if the deal did not get through the UK should not be afraid to leave without a deal on March 29.

Irish Independent

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