Ireland 'facing the most severe consequences' of hard Brexit, says EU Commissioner

Ireland 'facing the most severe consequences' of hard Brexit, says EU Commissioner
Margrethe Vestager

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says she has been impressed with the Irish government’s “resolve and dedication” in its preparations for Brexit.

She acknowledged that there is a risk for everyone if there is a hard Brexit or a no deal Brexit, but if that happens “Ireland and the EU will figure out how to solve the problem”.

Ms Vestager told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that it is important to protect the integrity of the Single Market and that the EU 27 “will come together on our values and stay together”.

She said she and her department have been working closely with the Irish authorities in the preparations and had been very impressed with the resolve and dedication.

“We’ve been clearing paths so that if urgent action is needed, we will be ready to do that.

Ireland is the one facing the most severe consequences of a hard Brexit.

Ms Vestager said that the important thing is to send out the strong message that the Irish government has been taking decisions, setting up schemes and they are ready to act urgently.

A no deal Brexit would be the worst case scenario and would be a risk for everyone involved, she said. “If that happens Ireland and the EU will figure out how to solve the problem.”

She said she was absolutely sure that if the situation arose, the EU will respect the wish to find a solution that everyone can live with.

Any resolution will have to protect the peace process.

On the topic of Ireland’s corporation tax which had been criticised in Davos, Ms Vestager said the “Apple situation” could not arise again because countries have changed their tax codes.”

It was important that Europe move forward and that loop holes are not opened, she said.

It is only fair that companies pay tax where they make profits and digital companies need to compete on a level playing field - taxes are a part of that level playing field, she added.

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