Brexit risks ‘diminishing’ EU project, says Charlie Flanagan

Charlie Flanagan

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan says Brexit has led to the greater risk of a “diminishing” of the EU project as whole.

Mr Flanagan is now due to meet with David Davis, the minister responsible for leading Britain’s negotiations for leaving the EU, in the next 10 days.

Yesterday at a gathering of Ireland’s ambassadors, consuls general and other senior diplomats, the minister outlined the dangers and wider risks posed by Brexit.

Mr Flanagan said in mitigating the risks arising from Brexit, “we have to be conscious that we face one risk even greater — a diminishing of the EU project itself”.

“The UK referendum result is one of several major challenges to European cohesion — the challenge of economic recovery and job creation; of public questioning of the EU and its relevance to their concerns; of insecurity within our borders and neighbourhood; of developments globally and in our own neighbourhood that challenge our values and test our determination to uphold them.

“Addressing these challenges is the business of every member state. We should play our role to the full, “ he told a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade departmental conference in Dublin Castle.

But he also warned that focusing too much on Brexit could jeopardise our global connections: “Notwithstanding the multiple challenges of managing a British departure from the EU, we should be alert also to the risk that this preoccupation might lower our gaze or reduce our horizons.”

Brexit risks ‘diminishing’ EU project, says Charlie Flanagan

Mr Flanagan is due to meet with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders today to discuss again the implications of the British referendum.

He said this meeting would provide him with the opportunity “to communicate our concerns but also to listen attentively to our partners”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Mr Flanagan said there are a lot of issues still out of Ireland’s control when it comes to Brexit, and “it won’t be possible to engage in the detail of this issue until we know what Britain’s ask would be”.

“I expect to meet David Davis over the next 10 days, I will be asking him what the most likely position will be. We don’t actually know yet what the requirement from the British government is going to be.”

But he warned: “If a member withdraws from a club, they cannot expect to have the same benefits.”

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