UK must drop tough talk in Brexit discussions, says Irish deputy premier
Ireland's deputy premier has called on the UK Government to drop its red lines and tough talk on its future relationship with the EU.
Simon Coveney said a calm and rational debate on the merits of continued membership of extended customs union and single market structures was overdue.
Addressing a packed audience at a conference bringing together concerned business representatives on both sides of the Irish border, he warned that the clock was ticking on a decision on what future trading relations would look like after Brexit.
The Tanaiste and foreign affairs minister told the event in Co Louth that the best interests of the UK, Ireland and the wider EU would be served by an arrangement as close as possible to the current free-flowing status quo.
"In our view this is best accomplished by the UK indicating that it wishes to be part of an extended single market and customs unions, allowing it to continue to access the world's largest and most successful free market - a market British genius has helped design," he said.
You may also want to watch:
"Thus far however, as we know, the British government has not been prepared to seek that type of relationship.
"My hope is that in the coming weeks, previous red lines and tough talking points will be put to one side and a calm and rational debate about what is in the best interests of the people of Britain and Northern Ireland can prevail.
- 1 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 2 Public slams Brexit Party tweet which shames Tory MPs who voted against free school meals
- 3 Piers Morgan must expose the government's Brexit betrayal
- 4 Group in protest against Tory MPs who voted down free school meals targets offices with empty plates
- 5 Tory minister blames journalists for NHS Test and Trace failure as he defends Dido Harding
- 6 Peers set to remove law-breaking sections of Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 7 Michel Barnier postpones Brussels return as Brexit trade talks in London continue
- 8 Brexit shambles: A stress of our own making
- 9 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 10 Boris Johnson and Priti Patel urged to end 'attacks' on lawyers in letter by 800 legal professionals
"That deliberation is overdue.
"And the clock is now ticking closer to the time when a decision on the future direction is needed.
"The closest possible customs and regulatory partnership is in the best interests of everybody, in my view, across these islands, and indeed in the best interests of the European Union and its future also."
Mr Coveney said despite some media commentary on the phase one deal struck between the UK and the EU, there was no uncertainty over what had been agreed in relation to the alignment of regulations in key economic sectors on both sides of the border after Brexit.
He said other EU nations remained "unstinting" in their support of Ireland's stance on that issue.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.