Brexit negotiations are still ongoing as the end of the transition period in December approaches but both the UK and the European Union have maintained clear differences still remain. Both negotiating teams have expressed the hope the issues of fisheries, state aid and governance will be fixed in time for an agreement to be struck and ratified in national parliaments. Irish Taoiseach Micheàl Martin warned failure to secure a deal would be “ruinous” for the UK but have severe consequences for Ireland as well.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Martin said: “The United Kingdom not having access to the single market would be, I think, ruinous for the United Kingdom economy and trade.
“Likewise, Ireland would do significantly worse in the event of a no deal. It would cause immense disruption and we don’t want that.
“We’ve all had a very significant shock to our economic system because of COVID-19.
“The last thing we need now across all of our respective economies is a second major shock.”
Brexit news: Micheal Martin warned a no deal would be “ruinous” for the UK
Brexit news: Martin said there is still a chance to secure a deal before December
The Irish leader said Boris Johnson and his negotiators must be “very careful that they do not do anything that could destabilise the politics of Northern Ireland”.
He also warned that a no deal past the transition period could lead to “tensions that are unnecessary”.
Mr Martin dismissed accusations that Brussels has been refusing to budge to meet the UK halfway during the Brexit negotiations.
He said: “I don’t accept that the EU is not budging. In a negotiation, both sides need to have a position.
“Efforts have to be made to reassure the EU side that what has happened in terms of the Internal Market Bill is not going to happen in 12 months’ time in the event of a deal being agreed between the European Union and the United Kingdom.”
The Internal Market Bill has been fueling controversy since it was first tabled in September due to the powers provided to the UK Government to chance aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement struck with Brussels last year.
London has maintained the legislation was designed to ensure the smooth transition of goods across the four UK nations once the transition period has ended.
The Irish Taoiseach added: “It is crucial that we get a deal, if there’s a will there’s a way.”
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Brexit news: The transition period is set to end on December 31, 2020
The European Union has wanted an agreement to be reached ahead of the bloc’s next Summit on November 19 to allow member states to ratify the deal before the transition arrangements expire at the end of the year.
Stumbling blocks remain over issues including “level playing field” measures aimed at preventing unfair competition on issues including state subsidies, the ongoing row over fishing rights and how any UK-EU deal will be governed.
The UK has warned the EU it needs to show “realism” over fishing rights post Brexit.