MEP Kelly urges UK to put citizens’ interests first in crucial talks

“The best interests of citizens and businesses must be put to the fore of EU-UK negotiations on a future relationship, especially given the disappointing lack of progress so far and the damage a no-deal outcome would cause coupled with the anticipated economic impact of the coronavirus crisis”, Seán Kelly MEP and Leader of Fine Gael in the EU Parliament said as the fourth round of talks between the EU and UK negotiating teams continues until Friday this week.

Mr Kelly, who is contributing to the EU Parliament’s forthcoming Resolution on the future relationship as a member of the Trade Committee, expressed concern for the talks: “Progress was slow even before the Covid-19 crisis, but now it is even more disappointing. I would have serious concerns for a no-deal Brexit – even though the Irish government is preparing for that worse-case-scenario, I would urge the UK government to reflect on the damage a no-deal would have on their own economy and citizens, in addition to the economic impact of the coronavirus.

“This is not a time to be reckless with people’s futures and our citizens are depending on their elected representatives to take responsible decisions and pursue their mandate in the best interests of everyone.

“Given the unprecedented situation we are in, it would be understandable if more time was required in order to ensure that the best outcome is achieved in a balanced final agreement. For the sake of millions of people, it is more important we get it right, not just get it done”, Mr Kelly said.

Considering the suspension of the Stormont Assembly in Belfast during the Brexit process, significantly reducing the voice of the people during this period, the Ireland South MEP also noted that it was unfortunate that the Northern Ireland Executive did not have a bigger role in the future relationship negotiations. However, the commitments signed up to by the British Prime Minister and the EU, including those relating to Northern Ireland and the peace process, must be honoured”.

The Fine Gael MEP also welcomed the Stormont Assembly’s first chance to debate Brexit yesterday (Tuesday), and recognises that a majority of it’s members voted to call for an extension to the transition period.

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