Irish trade minister says no deal with Brexit will be easy
AUSTIN, Texas – Ireland’s trade minister said on Tuesday the country would not be able to agree on any future trade deals with the European Union with its current negotiating position, despite a new proposal by the UK government.
In an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE, trade minister Liam Fox said he was still trying to understand the UK position, but that the EU has made it clear that any new deal would not cover a future deal.
He said that a future agreement would need to include a new trade deal that could be signed into law by both sides.
“We need to get an agreement in place for a trade agreement,” Fox said.
“And we need to make sure that the trade agreement is fully compatible with the new arrangement we have agreed with the EU.”
Fox also said the government would not accept the European Commission’s insistence that Ireland must have access to the single market, as it has done with Canada, for example.
“This is a very significant decision for Ireland, as we want to be able both to access the single markets of the European Economic Area and to the Schengen area,” he said.
“I do not think that is the best way to go.”
A European Commission spokesman said it was too early to discuss the issue.
“As a matter of fact, we don’t yet have a specific plan on the matter.
We want to start working on that now and to discuss it with the Government and others,” the spokesman said.
Brexit has thrown the EU’s relationship with Ireland into turmoil.
The Irish government has accused Brussels of undermining the country’s access to EU markets.
The EU has countered that Ireland’s access could be weakened by Brexit if it leaves the bloc.