Brexit negotiations are turning into “a game of chicken” as the deadline for a deal approaches.
So says Kilkenny man John Bryan, who’s represented Irish farmers on the European Economic and Social Committee.
It comes as Wednesday has been set as a deadline by the EU to reach a Brexit deal.
John is confident that a deal can be reached by then, but only if the UK concede more telling KCLR “You almost get the impression that a lot of UK politicians see this as a game of chicken but the reality is a deal has to be done, I still have a feeling that both sides have so much to lose that a deal will be done and it depends on Boris Johnson bending that bit more because some of his politicians are out saying they want an Australian style deal, the Australians have spent the last 40 years looking for a European style deal and spend tens of millions every year in Brussels trying to get better access”.
He adds that the ongoing Brexit negotiations could have been made smoother if Phil Hogan was still Trade Commissioner.
Kilkenny man Hogan was replaced by Latvia’s Valdis Dombrovskis when he resigned earlier this year.
But John says Valdis is hindered in the role by a language barrier, noting “Unfortunately for him, and it’s a terrible thing to say, he doesn’t speak English and unfortunately the language of diplomacy used to be French but now it’s English and so when you’re talking to the Eastern Europeans or you’re talking to the Americans you have to have English and it’s a huge drawback not to have English, Michel Barnier has French, German, English, speaks every language fluent and an amazing ability for names also so he has a great skill”.
Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen will meet in Brussels in the coming days to try and finalise a Brexit trade deal.
Some are suggesting that the British Prime Minister heading to meet the European Commission President shows he is willing to reach an agreement.
There are some sticking points remaining including fishing rights and the so-called ‘level playing field’.
EuroNews Political Editor is Darren McCaffrey – he says the mood has changed in Brussels in the past week about whether a deal will be reached:
Fine Gael MEP for Dublin, Frances Fitzgerald, says it’s in nobody’s interests to have a no-deal scenario.
While the former leader of the Conservative Party in the UK Iain Duncan-Smith expects the EU to realise a deal is worth more to the bloc than to the UK.
The Government’s being encouraged to look at daily sailings to the continent as a way of reducing the country’s reliance on the UK landbridge post-Brexit.
The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association will tell today’s Agriculture Committee that extra capacity on sailings from Rosslare and Cork should be a priority as transporting goods through the UK will take longer with or without a trade deal.
Last week a new daily route from Rosslare to Dunkirk in France was announced and will begin on January 1st.
Sinn Fein’s Agriculture spokesperson, and committee member, Matt Carthy, says the hit from Brexit will be felt hardest by Irish farmers.