News & Media

Howlin Calls on Macron to Allow a Long Extension of the UK’s EU Membership

26 October 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Speaking in relation to the pending decision by European leaders to extend the UK’s membership of the EU, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, called on President Macron of France to reconsider his opposition to an extension of three months or longer.

Deputy Howlin said:

“Press reports indicate that President Macron of France is singularly opposed to a three-month extension of the UK’s membership of the EU. While I understand the frustration of some EU leaders in relation to Brexit, it is in Ireland’s national interest that the UK be given the necessary time to legislate for the current withdrawal agreement, or even to hold a general election or a new referendum.

“I have written to President Macron to ask him to reconsider, as a short extension will not only put pressure on the UK, it will also create pressure on the deal which guarantees an open Irish border. Any rush to terminate the UK’s membership of the EU could cause the current agreement to fail, which would be catastrophic for Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement, as well as doing serious harm to the Irish economy.

“Throughout the whole Brexit process, our European partners have shown great solidarity with Ireland, for which I am grateful. I hope that all EU leaders will allow the UK all the time it needs to consider the current deal, or even to bring the decision back to the British people with the option of remain, which would be the best outcome from an Irish perspective.”