Published: Wed, 14 March 2018
The European Union stands firmly with Ireland on issues of concern in the Brexit negotiations, according to Fine Gael MEPs (EPP Group) Seán Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Brian Hayes and Deirdre Clune who will vote in favour of a European Parliament Resolution on future EU-UK relations in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
“Tomorrow’s vote will reiterate the EU’s unified stance on three crucial areas for Ireland. It underlines the importance of preserving the Good Friday Agreement, avoiding a hard border and ensuring that citizens on both sides of the border continue to enjoy the free movement rights that they do now,” said Seán Kelly MEP and Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the Parliament.
The Resolution outlines Parliament’s support for a future relationship between the EU and UK in the form of an Association Agreement with a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK as one of the possible component parts. It states that the UK will become a third country after withdrawal, which means it cannot have the same benefits as a Member State of the European Union, or an EFTA/EEA Member.
“The Parliament further reminds the UK government of the important commitment to ensure that there will be no diminution of rights, including social and democratic rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity as set out in the Good Friday Agreement, in keeping with December’s agreement which Prime Minister May signed up to,” Mr Kelly added.
MEPs will also insist the transposition of all elements of the Common Travel Area and on the free movement rights of EU citizens, as embedded in EU law and in the Good Friday Agreement in any final agreement.
Tomorrow’s vote will add further weight to the text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement concerning Ireland to be discussed by EU leaders next week, according to the four Fine Gael MEPs. It will do so by specifically endorsing the backstop option as a concrete solution to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, in case no alternative solutions are provided by the UK and in recognition of the UK government’s intention to leave the Single Market and Customs Union.
The Resolution has the support of all the major European political groups in the European Parliament.