Tánaiste Simon Coveney has told the Irish Farmers Journal that the EU is willing to extend the transition period after the UK leaves the EU.
This would allow more time for negotiations on future trading relationships between the EU and UK, and possibly avoid implementation of the backstop agreed last December. The UK's wish for a time limit on the backstop was described as a “new ask” by the Tánaiste .
Coveney added that it is imperative that Northern Ireland remains in regulatory alignment with the EU to protect the all-island economy.
The EU will release contingency plans next week explaining the implications of a no-deal Brexit in three areas: aviation, food standards and citizen’s rights.
'No back-sliding' – IFA
IFA president Joe Healy urged EU leaders to ensure there is no back-sliding on the backstop and no time limit, thereby guaranteeing that a hard border will not return at any point.
While the IFA says Irish farmers' interests lie in in maintaining full access and frictionless trade Ireland and Britain, the UK government intends to leave the single market and customs union and conduct its own trade policy.
This would open the door to Britain directly competing with the EU in future trade deals, undercutting EU import tariffs and granting additional import quotas, for example to the US, Mercosur, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc. That would be totally unacceptable – Joe Healy
The IFA has also raised concerns that the UK is aiming to avoid compliance with EU regulations and standards on marketing, labelling, GMOs, pesticides, geographic indications, food fraud and other CAP requirements.
With the outcome of talks uncertain, Healy has called for both a direct aid scheme for farmers to compensate potential devaluation of sterling, and a special fund to offset the negative impacts of Brexit. The size of the fund should be flexible, in order to adapt to a soft or hard Brexit as needed, he added.