Published: 17 January 2020
During Brexit negotiations, many hauliers across the UK and Ireland were concerned deals going sour could lead to a hard border at customs – which would make the movement of goods much more difficult than previously.
Speaking on this matter was Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission chief. Saying it would never happen as a result of Brexit. Elaborating further, she said the protocol on Northern Ireland formed as part of the withdrawal agreement ensures: “that hard border will never, ever come back again.”
Von der Leyen elaborated: “We now expect the withdrawal protocol to be implemented in full and we will invest in ensuring that.” Speaking at a dinner in Dublin Castle, she said Ireland’s national sovereignty was defended as well as magnified throughout the Brexit process.
She said: “We have shown that for us, for Europeans, all member states are equal,” von der Leyen continued to say the UK’s choice to depart from the European Union must be accepted and respected, but that truthfully the partnership between them could not be as close as it had been previously.
She continued: “Today Ireland is a strong and confident country, with the fastest growing economy in the EU and more people at work than ever before...And all this in spite of the spectre of Brexit.”
The chief exec said Ireland will continue to have a place at the core of the EU, as well as their plan for emissions being fully in line with the EU’s objectives. Mentioning the opportunities that could arise if the standard is met on-time.
Leo Varadkar (Irish Minister and leader of the Fine Gael party) spoke about the next steps in the Brexit process, explaining there must be a: “level playing field so that the single market and the customs union are not diluted. And we must have common minimum standards so that the UK doesn’t attempt in any way to undercut the EU when it comes to labour standards, environmental standards, health and safety product standards.”
Mentioning he had recently spoken to British PM Boris Johnson, he explained “he understands that, and is supportive of that as well.”
He said that after speaking to Boris Johnson recently, he believes the British prime minister “understands that, and is supportive of that as well”.
Concluding, he said: “Getting that agreement is crucial for businesses, for jobs for exporters, and also for the agriculture sector as well. Because whatever problems we face at the moment in our beef industry, they would be much worse if our beef farmers and our meat industry doesn’t have access to that British market in 2021.”