News | Hanna welcomes strong EU defence of Northern Ireland

Hanna welcomes strong EU defence of Northern Ireland

SDLP Brexit Spokesperson Claire Hanna has welcomed a strong defence of Northern Ireland’s economic, social and political interests from EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier today. Ms Hanna said that the framework agreement at the conclusion of Phase One of the Brexit talks is not up for renegotiation and London must be held to its commitment of regulatory alignment in areas of North-South Cooperation.

She said:

“Once again, the European Union’s negotiating team has been forced to make a strong intervention to defend the economic and social interests of Northern Ireland from the calamity of London’s rudderless Brexit strategy.

“If Theresa May does not alter course, Michel Barnier is right to say in no uncertain terms that withdrawing from the Single Market and Customs Union will ‘make border checks unavoidable.’

“It’s clear that the only way to avoid a hard border on this island is to maintain access to the Single Market and the Customs Union. It really doesn’t matter how you dress it up to soften the blow to hardline Brexiteers – continued regulatory alignment, no regulatory divergence, a new customs union – the end result must be that in areas of North South cooperation, our rules must mirror those of Europe.

“It’s not even a negotiable point because London agreed to that position in the Phase One Framework agreement. There can be no effort now to renegotiate that principle which is in the best interests of Ireland, Britain and Europe.

“The tiresome tug of war going on in the Conservative Party over Brexit cannot be allowed to pull apart the delicate complexity of trade, travel and relations on these islands. The public are sick of it and clearly the EU is sick of this schizophrenic negotiating.

Claire Hanna MLA

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