The devil will be in the detail of future EU-UK discussions

08 December 2017

The Leader of the Labour Party Brendan Howlin has said that today’s agreement between the EU and the UK marks the start of a process, not an end, and that the devil will be very much in the details of discussions ahead.

Deputy Howlin welcomed the commitment in the agreed Commission text that the British Government will maintain full alignment with internal market rules on the island of Ireland in the absence of a satisfactory UK-EU agreement.

However, Deputy Howlin urged caution about the challenges ahead.

Deputy Howlin said:

“A weak and divided British Government remains charged with squaring a very difficult circle in the months ahead.

“We are already almost a third of the way into the time period allowed for Article 50 negotiations and these talks will be undoubtedly difficult. 

“Commitments have been made by the British Government that have clear consequences for the nature of Brexit outcomes. 

“Regulatory alignment between the two jurisdictions on this island and between our two islands implies a particular kind of Brexit outcome that may not satisfy hard Brexiteers in the UK. Ultimately that is a matter for the UK parliament. 

“Likewise there are challenges in Ireland too.  Specifically the centrality of a functioning Good Friday Agreement and Northern Executive is confirmed in the Commission text.

“Nevertheless progress has been made today and after a difficult start to the week that is welcome.

“Those involved on both sides are to be commended for work in this regard.”

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