Ibec - for Irish business
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Guiding principles

19 June 2017
Guiding principles

1. A smooth exit
An orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, which includes a fair financial settlement and a comprehensive agreement to secure the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU, is vital. This phase of negotiations should also establish a clear framework to protect the Good Friday Agreement and avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Negotiations on exit terms need to be progressed as quickly as possible, so talks can begin on the future relationship.

2. Comprehensive transitional arrangements
Any EU-UK deal must include comprehensive transitional arrangements to avoid a precarious “cliff edge” scenario and allow business plenty of time to prepare and adapt to a new trading relationship. Continuity with existing arrangements should be maintained until the point where a new relationship takes effect. A temporary, targeted EU state aid framework will be required to help companies trade through any period of adjustment.

3. The closest possible relationship
Any EU-UK deal must facilitate the closest possible, tariff-free economic and trading relationship between the EU and UK into the future. An EU-UK 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 Single Market. Clear, legally binding and enforceable provisions will be needed to ensure fair competition and resolve disputes; and regulatory divergence must be avoided or kept to an absolute minimum.

4. Unique Irish challenges addressed
Any EU-UK deal must recognise the unique economic and political challenges that Brexit presents to Ireland, and put in place a range of specific measures to address these. This should include provisions on travel and labour market rights, while also addressing Ireland’s trade exposure, and the challenges presented by the land border with Northern Ireland and the transit of goods through the UK to EU markets. Specific measures will also be needed to ensure the future development of the all island economy is not hampered in any way.

5. A prosperous and competitive future EU
How the EU works and how member states cooperate post-Brexit will have a defining influence on our future well-being and prosperity. Reform of the EU, its priorities and its institutions must ensure we stay flexible and competitive. We need more integration across a range of areas, but member states also need to retain the flexibility in key policy areas, such as tax, to respond to varying economic circumstances and shape their business offering accordingly. Greater flexibility is needed on the application of EU fiscal rules to facilitate productive investment in vital infrastructure projects.