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Minister McEntee welcomes another important step in the Brexit Negotiations


Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD, attended today's General Affairs Council in Brussels which met in Article 50 formation and discussed the state of play in the Brexit negotiations. The Council also adopted additional negotiating Directives which mandate the European Commission to begin discussions with the UK on agreeing a transitional arrangement.

Speaking in Brussels, Minister McEntee said:

"I welcome today's agreement by the EU27 on negotiating Directives which propose a status quo transitional arrangement after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. Such an arrangement will provide certainty and limit disruption for our citizens and businesses. Under such an arrangement the UK will be expected to continue to apply the full EU acquis.

The overriding aim of such an arrangement is to ensure that there are no gaps or cliff edge effects between the UK's departure from the EU and the entry into force of the EU-UK future relationship agreement. I therefore welcome that the Council today agreed to keep the Directives in all their aspects under constant review taking account of developments in the Brexit negotiations.

Today's decision is another important step in the Brexit negotiations and I hope that the EU and UK can agree in principle an effective transition as soon as possible. This is in all our interests."

Speaking about the Irish specific issues and the future EU-UK relationship, the Minister added:

"We also had a good exchange of views today with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on the process of the negotiations going forward. I took the opportunity to thank our EU partners again for their support and solidarity on Ireland's specific concerns and stressed that the commitments and guarantees provided by the UK in Phase 1 must now be delivered on through the withdrawal agreement. Progress in the discussions on the UK's future relationship with the EU depends on this.

I also underlined Ireland's wish to see the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK, including on trade, while also making clear that the integrity of the EU's Single Market and Customs Union must be protected."


Press Office
29 January 2018