Ireland should develop an informal Brexit coalition with like-minded EU countries – Hayes
Brian Hayes MEP today (Monday) said that the government should work to develop an informal Brexit coalition with like-minded EU Member States in preparation for negotiations.
“There has been much commentary recently about whether Ireland should align itself closer with the UK or with the other 26 EU Member States for the Brexit negotiations.
“We have to come to the realisation that the negotiations will be happening exclusively in Brussels, not Dublin or London. We cannot forge some sort of bilateral deal with the UK and hope that this will be agreed to by our other EU partners. Our main strategy needs to be conducted through Brussels. Irish Commissioner Phil Hogan is right – the Brexit negotiation will be an exclusive issue between those remaining in the EU (the 27) and Britain. We are part of the 27.
“We certainly cannot sit back and expect that Ireland will automatically get special treatment from EU partners in this negotiation. We need to be proactive and armed with a clear set of priorities reflecting Ireland’s needs for the final outcome.
“The government should look to develop a special informal Brexit coalition with like-minded Member States. This can be done in a smart diplomatic way through our permanent representation in Brussels. If we don’t form alliances in the Brexit negotiations we could be left extremely isolated. In the European Council, we have very strong ties with the Benelux countries, the Scandinavian countries and the Baltics. These are countries which have been echoing similar messages to us on how Brexit should proceed.
“By associating ourselves more closely with certain countries or blocs we can always get more out of negotiations on European policy. Ireland’s representatives in Brussels need to play a smart diplomatic game on Brexit in the coming months – we need to solidify partnerships with these like-minded Member States and make sure we are on the same page.
“We must remember that there are Member States who will have divergent policy positions and will probably play hardball with the UK. They will also be looking to form alliances. We have to get ahead of the curve.”