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FORMER GREEK MINISTER for Finance Yanis Varoufakis has said that fears that Ireland may end up as “collateral damage” in negotiations between London and Brussels are “well-founded”.
Speaking to RTÉ’s This Week, the economist said if Britain chooses to leave the capital union, Ireland would not be negotiating with London over the status of the border: ”there will be negotiations between London and Brussels on this”.
This comes as Gerry Adams said that Brexit could destroy the Good Friday Agreement, and that Brexit was a ”hostile act against this island”, because it could mean taking the North out of the European Union.
The main challenges that Brexit poses for Ireland include higher taxes on imported and exported products, and the future for the border between the Republic of Ireland and the North.
When Britain leave the European Union, higher taxes on goods exported from Ireland are likely; but how much higher they are will signify just how tough Brexit will be for small Irish businesses here.
Because the UK voted to leave the EU on a mandate of limiting the free movement of people, the worry is that a physical border of some sorts will return, seriously impacting relations in the North – especially at a time of political uncertainty.
“I think that it’s imperative for the Irish government to ensure that it’s not sidelined,” Varoufakis said today.
You have to use your special geographical place and the historical links between the Republic and the United Kingdom to knock some sense into both London and Brussels.
Varoufakis was made Greek Finance minister after his far-left party Syriza rose to power in the 2014 general elections.
He and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised to get a better – or less austere – deal from the European Union, but failed in negotiations to achieve that.
Varoufakis then resigned, he says because Tsipras was told he would get a better deal for the Greek people if Varoufakis stepped aside. Since his resignation in 2015, Varoufakis has been a vocal critic of the EU – often expressing his disillusionment with the way the European Union functions.
“My great fear having experienced negotiations [like these] is that negotiations are not rational – indeed they are often fake negotiations. Often there is a power-play that leaves behind the common interest for both sides,” he said today.
The PM’s Speech
Earlier this week Theresa May outlined her ‘wish-list’ for Brexit negotiations. Included on that list was her desire to acknowledge the unique relationship they have in the North.
She also said that if they didn’t get a good deal, that they would get competitive on trade by lowering corporate tax rates.
Various opposition politicians, including Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, expressed concern about Theresa May’s speech, saying that it doesn’t include much detail about how negotiations will proceed.