After a difficult six years of Brexit negotiations, the EU-UK relationship has suffered and the time has now come for both sides to re-set relations, according to Fine Gael’s European Affairs spokesperson.
Addressing the annual meeting of Oxford for Europe this evening, an affiliate of the European Movement, Dublin Rathdown TD, Neale Richmond, said there will always be a need for a strong relationship between the UK and the EU, to allow forcooperation beyond Brexit.
Deputy Richmond said: “For the past six years Brexit has dominated much of the political discourse in the European Union and United Kingdom and as a result the UK-EU relationship has suffered.
“Repeated recent threats from the UK Government to trigger Article 16, harsh rhetoric, the refusal to properly implement Brexit rules and the resulting lawsuit have all contributed to these worsening relations.
“However, with the new year bringing a new Brexit negotiator in Liz Truss and optimism of a breakthrough in the Northern Ireland Protocol, the opportunity is here to re-set the UK-EU relationship and move forward positively.
“Brexit has taken the UK out of the EU, but they remain firmly inside of Europe where we all are facing the same major issues whether in the EU or out.
“From the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, to security and defence, we are stronger when we work together and learn from the expertise of our neighbours.
“Though many of us hope that at some point the UK will decide to re-join the EU, this is far from a requirement for cooperation; the UK voted to leave the EU and we respect their decision.
“Increased EU-UK cooperation with the UK as a third country is very much possible and indeed it would be to the benefit of every citizen of the UK as well as all those in the EU.
“Exchanging information on security threats, sharing data and promoting stability and protecting democratic values has no downside.
“There will always be room for the UK to work with the EU to help solve our common issues.
“The light is always on for the UK in the EU – this will not change” Deputy Richmond concluded.