Friday, 29 May 2020

Plenkovic on Brexit - Although the UK wasn't always constructive, its membership certainly didn't weaken the Union, but strengthened it

By  Oct 18, 2019

If the Irish government is satisfied with the new Brexit agreement reached between EU and UK negotiators, then the leaders of the other member states should support it, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic told the press before an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday.

"If the Irish government is satisfied with this agreement, my impression is that most of the member states will accept it," Plenkovic said, without ruling out the possibility of the agreement being ratified by 31 October when the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union.

"If the House of Commons in London ratifies the deal, technically everything can be done in the next few days," he added.

Plenkovic said that he had met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at a meeting of the European People's Party which preceded the summit.

"This seems to be a reasonable agreement, and I talked about it with Varadkar. It will not cause problems to the everyday lives of people on the island of Ireland, and things that remain open will be dealt with along the way, which is also good," he said.

Plenkovic reiterated Croatia's position that the UK's departure was bad.

"It is bad not just politically, but it is also a historic defeat that will certainly have consequences for the long-term functioning of the EU," he said, recalling that the UK is not just any country but a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a nuclear power and a champion of free trade.

"Although the UK wasn't always constructive, its membership certainly didn't weaken the Union, but strengthened it," he added.

EU and UK negotiators reached a new agreement on Thursday, just hours before the EU summit, replacing the backstop mechanism, which was disputed by London, with a new approach. The new deal differs from the previous one, reached with the previous UK Prime Minister Theresa May in November last year, in that the protocol relating to Northern Ireland was revised, while all other provisions remained the same.

The Irish backstop, a protection to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, was replaced by a new approach. The revised protocol on Northern Ireland protects the all-island economy on the island of Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions and safeguards the integrity of the single market, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said.

Under the new agreement, Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of rules related to the EU's single market in order to avoid a hard border: legislation on goods, sanitary rules for veterinary controls, rules on agricultural production/marketing, VAT and excise in respect of goods, and state aid rules.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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