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Min Flanagan statement on UK formal notification of intention to leave EU

Brexit, European Union, Ireland, Minister Charles Flanagan, Press Releases, Europe, Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, 2017

 

Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, in respect of the formal notification by the UK of its intention to leave the EU

 

- “My key message today is: Ireland is ready for the negotiations”

 

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, responded on behalf of the Irish Government, to the formal notification by the UK of its intention to leave the EU today - the so-called triggering of Article 50.  He stated:

 

"My key message today is: Ireland is ready for the negotiations. Since last June 23rd, we have known that this day would come. We welcome the certainty this provides, about the timeline for the negotiation.

 

"This is the beginning of a long and complex set of negotiations. The UK does not leave the EU today – it only begins the process of leaving, they have every EU obligation and right until they do leave.

 

"In the meantime, nothing will change, including the UK’s obligations towards the citizens and businesses of other Member States.

 

"I note that in the letter delivered today, Prime Minister May made specific reference to the unique and special relationship between the UK and Ireland, and to respecting and protecting the Peace Process - and the necessity to preserve and continue that. This is welcome, and I also think that this is a point that our UK partners are well aware of from our perspective as a continuing member.

 

"The parameters of the future relationship with the UK have still to be negotiated – but both the UK and the EU have been clear that they want to retain a close and friendly relationship. That is our wish, also.

 

"We have spent the last nine months making clear our priorities to both the UK and our remaining 26 EU partners. They are very clear on those priorities.

 

"Those priorities are, and will remain:

 

"The Taoiseach has been communicating our priorities to all of the heads of Government, the Council and the Commission – as I speak he is at an important conference in Malta today with chancellor Merkel and other European leaders.

 

"I’ve been engaging with every Foreign Minister in the EU, and also with the Commission negotiating team led by Michel Barnier.  In all I’ve had over 100 engagements since the referendum and I will have more bilateral engagements next Monday in Luxembourg.

 

"My Ministerial colleagues have been doing the same with their opposite numbers.  Indeed, Minister Creed is in Warsaw today; Minister Mitchell O’Connor is in Copenhagen and, as I’ve mentioned, the Taoiseach is in Malta at an important Summit of the European People’s Party (EPP).

 

"At diplomatic and official level, these contacts and engagements have been constant and ongoing since before UK referendum to leave the EU last June. All in all, we’ve counted almost 400 Brexit contacts with EU institutions and member states since last June.

 

"Here in Ireland, we’ve engaged across society, with every sector, to identify concerns and potential challenges presented by Brexit, and the ways to address those concerns and challenges.

 

"Through events like the All Island Civic Dialogue, we’ve engaged sectorally with every area of society, from agriculture, to transport to the fishing, to manufacturing to retail.

 

"We have especially engaged with the businesses that are focused primarily on exports into the UK, or cross border trade with the UK. We’ll continue that engagement with them through the negotiations now starting.

 

In terms of the next steps:

 

 

 

 

"Finally, I would point to the great experience in Ireland in respect of EU negotiations, particularly in recent years.  For example, during the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2013, more legislative measures were agreed than in any other Presidency since.  A new CAP, a new Common Fisheries Policy and a new EU Multiannual Financial Framework were among the major agreements brokered following many hours of patient negotiation during the Irish Presidency.  In the challenging negotiations ahead, we will be drawing on a deep well of experience and expertise – both internally and externally – and I am confident that this will serve our people very well as we go forward with the process that began today with the triggering of Article 50."


ENDS 

Press Office

29 March 2017