We cannot allow no-deal Brexit to happen, warns McGuinness
THERE is a “real risk” the UK could crash out of the EU without a Brexit deal, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness has warned.
She said a hard Brexit would be “cruel, if not a killer” for the Irish agri-food sector and that “more support and measures may be needed” in the Irish budget if it comes to pass.
“There is a real risk of a nodeal Brexit,” Ms McGuinness told the Farming Independent. “But we cannot allow that to happen.”
She warned of “cancer drug shortages, long queues of lorries at customs causing food to rot, planes not being able to fly, no personal data transferred between the UK and EU” in the event that Brexit talks break down and the UK leaves without a deal in March 2019.
“The EU is aware, but these consequences do not seem to be fully recognised on the UK side,” she said. “Reality is dawning among some Brexiteers, but it is a slow process.”
A recent report for the European Parliament’s agriculture committee found that a no-deal Brexit could cost Irish farmers up to €5.5bn in lost exports over the next decade.
Ms McGuinness said the report was a “stark warning” for the EU, and that it would have to be discussed by agriculture MEPs.
“The scale of the impact is huge, but it is not just an Irish problem,” said Ms McGuinness, who is on the agriculture com- mittee and is also one of the parliament’s vice-presidents. “Anything that hits Irish food exports will hit the EU market, so all EU farmers will be impacted if there is market distortion and displacement.”
She also warned that a hard Brexit will mean EU budget cuts “unless EU member states are prepared to put more into the budget”.
EU budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger (inset) last week suggested a “new deal” that would see rich countries “pay a little more into the EU pot” and poorer countries accept “more control” over the way they spend EU regional funds.
The farm budget is also on the line after 2020. According to a leaked communication on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy, direct payments could be capped in future for large farmers and redistributed to smaller producers.