Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes urged EU negotiators to get a landmark trade deal with the US over the line before populists hijack the deal.
The former junior finance minister said the UK’s decision to leave the EU must serve as a wake-up call to Europe as to the power and effect of populism across the continent.
The Brexit result should act as a catalyst for negotiators to finalise the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as quickly as possible,” Mr Hayes said.
“We have seen with the result of the UK referendum the damaging effects of populist politics. I hope this gives us a wake-up call in Europe and we can now push ahead with the real jobs and growth agenda. Finding an agreement on TTIP is a key part of Europe’s future growth agenda.
“We should not let populists take a hold of TTIP like they did with the Brexit debate. We need to look at the facts and figures and it is clear the economic benefits for Ireland and the EU are enormous from a potential deal. A recent EU study says Ireland will gain 1.4% in GDP from the deal.
“EU and US negotiators should speed up their talks and find an agreement before the end of this year. The longer it is allowed to linger on, the more chance populists will have to hijack any deal,” Mr Hayes said.
Advocates of the trade deal point to the projected benefits to Ireland of the partnership while critics claims it will hand too much power to corporates and compromise safety and quality standards.
EU and US negotiators meet in Brussels this week for the 14th round of negotiations.
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