The U.K. ought to make an effort to strike a deal with the EU to avoid trading with the bloc on World Trade Organization terms after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said.
Speaking to the BBC in an interview published Thursday, Martin urged Downing Street to “knuckle down” so as to avoid the economic consequences of no-deal exit which would be “very, very damaging all round.”
“We’ve all had a very significant shock to our economic system because of COVID-19 — the last thing we need now across all of our respective economies is a second major shock,” he said.
Apart from the economic impact, Martin also insisted the British government must be “very careful that they do not do anything that could destabilize the politics of Northern Ireland,” adding that the U.K. government’s controversial draft Internal Market Bill has lowered the level of trust Brussels has in London and fails to “take on board the implications for politics within Northern Ireland itself.”
“Efforts have to be made to reassure the EU side that what has happened in terms of the Internal Market Bill is not going to happen in twelve months’ time in the event of a deal being agreed between the European Union and the United Kingdom,” he said.
Describing U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who has Irish roots, as “probably the most Irish of presidents” since John F. Kennedy, Martin said Biden would not want a trade agreement between the U.K. and the EU to endanger the Good Friday Agreement which has guaranteed peace on the island since 1998.
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Irish PM: UK must ‘knuckle down’ to get Brexit trade deal The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Politico.