This week we are discussing the border again, which is still the most topical issue around Brexit.
The Irish border is a central sticking point in the current Brexit negotiations. With Brexit scheduled for March 2019, this is one of the key obstacles the UK must overcome before the EU will move on to post-Brexit trade talks.
If the UK left the EU but remained in the single market and customs union, the border issue may not be so challenging. This issue has been complicated by the UK opting to leave Europe’s trading and free movement frameworks. This means that the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland border will be a dividing line between two separate regulatory and economic zones.
Brussels believes a “soft” border can only be achieved if either the whole of the UK, or at least Northern Ireland, remains within the single market and customs union, or alternatively if the UK designs a new system that adheres to those regulations.
Both Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney have said they want either the UK to remain in some form of customs union with the EU, or ensure there is no regulator divergence between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The Irish government has been in a state of unrest recently with the possibility of a snap election looming. Today Frances Fitzgerald resigned as Tánaiste. In a statement issued by the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar Tuesday 28 November, he said:
“This morning, Frances Fitzgerald came to me to offer her resignation as Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. She is doing so to avoid an unnecessary and early general election that could have left the country without a functioning government and Oireachtas for several months at a crucial time for Ireland.
“Over the next few weeks and months, the Government will need to focus on the Brexit negotiations, both phase one and phase two. We have a Finance Bill and Appropriations Bill to enact. Legislation to pass for public sector pay restoration and pension and social welfare increases. We also have the important work of the committee on the Eighth Amendment to complete, paving the way for a referendum next year. All of these would fall in the event of a general election.”
“The work of the Government and the parliament must not be interrupted during this important period.”
“In the meantime, the Government will continue to work for the good of the country. We will focus on the challenge of Brexit, and deal with the many other problems we are facing. We will not be distracted as we strive to do what is in the best interests of all the people.”
In just over two weeks’ time, the Taoiseach will attend a summit of EU leaders in Brussels to put forward Ireland’s case in the Brexit discussions.
We will continue to follow the progress on the Brexit border issue and all Brexit matters and will bring you further updates when the information becomes available.
After last week’s UK Autumn Budget an extra £3 billion to prepare for Brexit over the next two years was announced. It is said that the money will make sure the government is ready on day one of exit. It will include funding to prepare the border, the future immigration system and new trade relationships.
As InterTrade Ireland committee members, UHY Farrelly Dawe White Limited will be attending a major event in Dublin on the 5th of December. The event seeks to help Irish businesses prepare for the effects of Brexit.
The event will cover ‘Brexit related issues’ like VAT, customs, tax, and rules of origin. Attendees will hear current insights from Vincent Power of A&L Goodbody and other guest speakers.
The chance to discuss Brexit related issues and ways to overcome these issues, using the knowledge of industry experts, businesses and the complete InterTradeIrleand Brexit advisory Service make the 5th of December a valuable day in helping businesses gear up for Brexit.
UHY FDW is continually monitoring developments throughout the Brexit process and will offer advice as the process becomes clearer.