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Ireland may need emergency aid in a no deal Brexit, says former WTO chief

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Ireland EUReuters/Francois Lenoir

  • Former WTO Director General and EU Trade Commissioner
    Pascal Lamy has warned Ireland may need emergency aid in the
    event of no deal Brexit.
  • Lamy said that while a no deal Brexit was something
    one year ago I would have put at a low probability”, now
    it is “something that needs to be in our mind.”

  • Lamy also declared there to be “no way” to
    prevent a hard border if there is no Brexit
    deal. 


LONDON — Former WTO Director General and EU Trade Commissioner
Pascal Lamy has warned that Ireland may need emergency aid in the
event of a no deal Brexit. 

The Republic of Ireland would be so badly damaged by the United
Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal that it would
require emergency supplies and support from Brussels, Lamy told RTÉ on Sunday.

“This is something that needs to be in our mind. Yes, Ireland
would be the most hit both in quantity and proportion and then
there should be some sort of EU solidarity,” Lamy, who served as
WTO head for eight years, said.

Lamy’s warning comes amid increased concern that Brexit
negotiations are headed for a no-deal outcome unless either the
UK or EU ditches major red lines on the thorny issue of the
Northern Irish backstop.


lamy
Pascal
Lamy, Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum
(WEF) in Davos January 26, 2013.

REUTERS/Pascal Lauener

Lamy anticipated that there would likely be a spat between the EU
member states and Britain over who should fund any emergency aid
Ireland requires as a result of Brexit.

“This debate will come but at the end of the day this is
something we will need to prepare for and will need to have in
mind,” he said.

“Of course there would be people in the continent who say ‘why
should we pay for the British not being able to agree on a
solution’.”

No way to avoid a hard border

Lamy also said there would be “no way” to avoid a hard Irish
border in the event of no deal and predicted that although some
people in Europe do not “understand the complexities of the Irish
Border,” the EU will protect it at all costs in Brexit
negotiations.

“If there cannot be an agreement on the future trade regime and
the UK nevertheless exits in March next year there has to be a
solution that guarantees that there will be no border,” he said.

“Most Europeans do not know precisely about the history and
relationship with Great Britain and Ireland.

“But there is a view on the continent that this Irish
question is extremely sensitive I don’t think there is any
risk of the Irish being let down on this question.”


Leo Varadkar Jean-Claude JUncker
Irish Taoiseach Leo
Varadkar and European Commission President Jean-Claude
Juncker

REUTERS/Francois
Lenoir


Varadkar is “confident” a deal can be reached

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said last week he was confident
a Brexit deal will be reached. That being said, Ireland is
planning for all potential Brexit scenarios, including no deal.

On Sunday, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson
declared that Anglo-Irish relations have “unalterably changed” as
a result of Brexit and said Northern Ireland may join with
Ireland as one country.

Speaking at the MacGill Summer
School, Robinson said
: “There has been a settled
understanding of the constitutional position of Northern Ireland
and its interaction with both the rest of the United Kingdom and
the Republic of Ireland.

“Shaking that tree was certain to cause an abundant fall-out.”

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