Forging strong Brexit alliances is crucial for Ireland – Hayes
Brian Hayes MEP today (Friday) welcomed Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s meeting with the Dutch and Danish Prime Ministers on Brexit issues and said that forging strong Brexit alliances will be crucial to Ireland’s success in the negotiations.
Mr Hayes is in The Hague attending the 15th Norbert Schmelzer lecture, organised by the CDA, a Dutch sister party of Fine Gael, at which the Taoiseach is keynote speaker.
“Ireland is not the only Member State of the EU effected by Brexit. Countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Luxembourg have deep economic ties, as we do, with the UK.”
“What will be absolutely crucial is how we engage with small like-minded Member States. Brexit represents a high stakes diplomatic battle and a lot will depend on how strong our alliances are with the likes of the Baltics, the Nordics and the Benelux countries. They have been echoing similar messages in calling for a soft Brexit. That is why today’s engagement between the Taoiseach and his Dutch and Danish counterparts is so important – it is an opportunity to align our priorities at the highest level.
“We know that there will be Member States who want to punish the UK, especially given that the British government is taking a hard Brexit line. There needs to be a strong counter balance to this view and Ireland should take a leading role in rallying against this harmful course of action.
“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.
“There’s no doubt that those Member States that want to play hardball with the UK will be forming their own alliances. We have to get ahead of the curve.”