Brexit-style rhetoric could land us in a UK-style crisis

The mess of Brexit rumbles over and over again. Internal UK Conservative Party politics and leadership have given priority to survival rather than any long-term trade deal with the EU.

Initially, the UK tried to divide opinion among EU member states on Brexit, but the EU has remained united – and the normalcy has defended Irish interests.

For Ireland and the UK, Brexit has been, and is, a big issue, but for many other member states, it is hardly registered.

Since the Brexit vote six years ago, a seasoned EU negotiating team, with a defined mandate from its leadership, has tried to strike a long-term trade deal with a disorganized and inexperienced UK team that has faltered in populism. Is.

The Tory leadership has created unrealistic expectations among the UK population about how they can force Brussels to meet their demands.

The European Union is approaching the conclusion of several trade deals with other countries, and is not going to break the withdrawal agreement that Boris Johnson signed in 2020.

These unrealistic expectations are not new. I recall a conversation in 2016 with a National Farmers Union (NFU) staff member who was very supportive of Brexit.

He believed Britain would be in a stronger position after Brexit to secure a better deal for British farmers, where Irish beef would face tariffs going to the UK, and being forced off UK supermarket shelves.

He also believed that the British lamb would have free access to the French and European Union markets.

They did not understand that the EU would never agree to such a deal.

Unrealistic populist rhetoric is not isolated to British farmers. Here in Ireland, there have been complaints from agricultural leaders about Northern Ireland lamb being processed at southern meat plants, while they demand more live exports of southern cattle and pigs to the north.

Complaints have been made regarding the sale of Dutch pork in Ireland, while again calls for more sales of Irish dairy calves in the Netherlands.

Any disruption to trade within the Single Market would be disastrous for Irish farmers.

Irish farmers need workable trade agreements that allow us to trade our meat and dairy products around the world. Those agreements are also needed to protect the EU Single Market which is the main export destination for our agricultural products.

Irish and European farmers may not be happy with all trade deals completed by the European Union (with Mercosur at the top of the list), but applying European standards of food production to food imported into the EU is one area whereby All European farmers must agree on, and need to be protected.

The UK’s desire to remove checks on goods entering Northern Ireland (and by extension the EU), which had been signed by the current UK government just 18 months earlier, cannot be allowed to happen, as it Will set an example for all future. trade agreements.

The UK is now out of the EU and wants to make trade deals with other countries around the world. They are willing to relax their standards on food imports to secure those new trade agreements.

This creates a need to check on goods trying to enter the EU from the UK.

His inflation rate is running over 10 pc, while Boris Johnson is desperate to stay on as prime minister and perpetuating an agenda of continued disagreement with the EU to distract his voters from his poor leadership. Huh.

He wants to give the impression that he is fighting on behalf of the British public as part of a PR scheme that risks starting a trade war with the European Union, which will cost UK voters a living. will increase it even more.

Patience within the EU is waning with the British government, which is still united in its response to Brexit, and any attempt by Johnson to cherry-pick the friendly pieces of the deal has been met with strong resistance from EU leaders. be fulfilled.

The dilemma for Johnson now is how to save face and get out of the dangerous economic corner he has led Britain into.

A trade war with the EU would be even more extreme than a tough Brexit, which some in the Conservative Party demanded back in 2016.

Angus Woods is a drystock farmer in Wicklow