Ibec - for Irish business
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19 June 2017
Introduction from Danny McCoy

The departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union presents an unprecedented and profoundly unwelcome challenge to the Europe we know.

For Ireland, the relationship with our closest neighbour; ally; and, of course, competitor is set to change fundamentally. This presents numerous and very serious challenges to the economy as a whole and the individual businesses affected. Close economic, political, cultural and historical links with the UK mean that Ireland is uniquely exposed to the discord and disruption of Brexit. The land border with Northern Ireland, and the need to safeguard the Peace Process, present additional complex challenges. It is crucial that these issues are fully understood and reflected in the Brexit process and outcome.

This paper sets out the position and priorities of Irish business on a number of key concerns. With a particular focus on the future EU-UK relationship, it identifies some of the numerous challenges Brexit negotiations present and identifies practical ways that these can be overcome. It does not, however, cover the wide range of additional domestic policy actions that need to be taken to off-set Brexit risks.

The closest possible EU-UK economic and trading relationship into the future is in everyone’s interest. A new free trade agreement should be as broad, comprehensive and as ambitious as possible, covering both goods and services. However, a deal must not undermine the coherence and integrity of the EU Single Market and must ensure fair competition.

A significant gap exists between stated UK objectives and what is realistically possible within the parameters of the current EU negotiating guidelines. This gap will need to narrow if meaningful progress is to be made. Political will, pragmatism and a spirit of cooperation is required. A fractious, disruptive divorce is in no one’s interest and must be avoided.

In parallel to Brexit talks, Ireland and other remaining member states must seize the opportunity to reinvigorate their commitment to a stronger, more prosperous EU, which further develops the Single Market and international trade, and enshrines pro-jobs, pro-growth conditions at the very heart of decision-making.

Ibec represents an open, dynamic and pro-European business community of deep substance and diversity. Together with our member companies, we look forward to working with government, other member states, the EU institutions and the UK to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.

Danny McCoy
Ibec CEO