Brexit & Future EU Campaign

September 07, 2020

The latest CEO Update newsletter to Ibec members from Danny McCoy

Dear member,

This morning, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that Mairead McGuinness is the new Irish Commissioner-designate. Following approval by the European Parliament of which she is currently first Vice-President, she will take charge of a leading economic portfolio as the Commissioner responsible for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union. Ibec wishes Mairead McGuinness every success in her new role as a Commissioner. In combination with Paschal Donohue’s Presidency of the Eurogroup and Philip Lane’s role in the European Central Bank, Ireland will be central to the EU27’s financial decision-making and economic recovery. Critically, Mairead McGuinness will work alongside Valdis Dombrovskis, who President von der Leyen has chosen as the new Commissioner for Trade.

Today’s announcement ensures the retention of a strong voice for issues facing Irish business and the all-island economy in the Commission, not least in relation to Brexit. This week the 8th round of negotiations on future relations between the EU and the UK take place in London, against a background of intensified political focus following weekend media reports concerning the UK Government’s approach to the Withdrawal Agreement. Despite intensive sessions during the summer, we enter the crucial period of talks with wide gaps remaining. There is an urgent need for progress if a detailed agreement is to be drafted by end-October to facilitate ratification and implementation by time the transition period ends this year.
For Irish business, the current outlook is highly concerning. The Protocol on Ireland / Northern agreed under the Withdrawal Agreement must be implemented in full. On the broader trading front the UK’s insistence that an Australia-like trading relationship (i.e. no FTA) would be a positive outcome is worrying.

Ibec continues to work with European partners to seek the best outcome for business. However, regardless of the result of negotiations, our customs and trading arrangements with the UK will change fundamentally in less than four months. The UK only left the EU politically earlier this year. On 1 January 2021, a new economic and trading relationship between the EU and the UK commences.

Our priority, now and over the coming months, is to provide members with clear and actionable guidance in preparation for the end of the transition period through a comprehensive suite of planning documents, a broad range of technical and political seminars and events and the ongoing insights and expertise available from our specialist staff. We resumed our programme of Brexit events last week with a webinar on Customs and Trade with the Revenue Commissioners. You can view the webinar recording here.

In order to provide practical guidance and up-to-date information to members, Ibec has developed two policy trackers. An updated Tracker on the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and a new Tracker on the EU-UK Future Relationship. These trackers will be continually updated as the issues are progressed. To access these trackers and our full range of resources please consult our dedicated Brexit website.

Please keep in touch with the Ibec team of policy and sector advisers on Brexit if you have any specific queries. 

We will be in touch with further information on our Brexit & Future EU campaign and events. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Your views are always welcome.

Best wishes,

Danny McCoy
CEO, Ibec