The British PM Theresa May visits Dublin on Friday evening for Brexit talks. It is an expected visit after a full week of fervent discussions in Brussels and no-deal declarations. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says that the meeting with Theresa May is “an opportunity as well to discuss the situation and work together to chart a way forward.”
He met with EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker that said the EU “cannot reopen” the #Brexit withdrawal agreement or reopen discussion on the Irish “backstop”. Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, he noted the backstop is needed for “obvious, vital reasons”.
But the most shared and discussed statement was that of the European Council president Donald Tusk. He told Brexiteers to tell him “what that special place in hell looks like for people who promoted Brexit without a sketch of an idea” of the consequences, a statement made in the joint declaration with the Irish PM. Shortly -on Twitter – the European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt: Lucifer would not welcome Brexiteers who had no plan.
And I must add, where is this place inside or outside the customs union?
Also, in Brussels, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said that EU won’t leave Ireland behind in the event of no-deal suggesting some kind of assistance for the agri-food sector. This would be one of the most affected sectors as almost 50% of Irish beef exports go to UK and about 22% of dairy.
Not to mention also in this scenario the GDP will drop with 4 percent on a year basis and would mean additional costs and difficulties for companies that would have to deal with customs control. A KPMG report from last year calculated that “one day of delay for a lorry will easily cost a business €600 up to €1,000”.
According to the Irish Road Haulage Association, quoted by RTE state television in January, 70% of the haulage traffic leaving Dublin on ferries use the UK as a land-bridge to continental Europe. And up to 1.000 Irish trucks travel by ferry from Dublin Port to Holyhead every day – it is the shortest and busiest crossing between Ireland and Wales. Not to mention that large retail chains or distributing companies in both Ireland and UK are stockpiling goods. A “Cheddar mountain” is a reality now in the UK where Ornua – the Irish largest exporter of dairy – has stockpiled Cheddar as a Brexit buffer for 6 months, almost 50.000 tonnes of product according to Independent newspaper. Also, there were reports of similar measures taken by Tesco and Marks&Spencer retail chains.