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David Puttnam

Brexit & Ireland: Compromise will avoid hard border

Brexit compromise will avoid hard Border

10 October, 2016

Brexit compromise will avoid hard Border 

British peer and west Cork resident believes EU will not do anything in its Brexit negotiations that would be likely to worsen the Irish economy.

The European Union will reach a level of compromise with the UK on Brexit sufficient to ensure there is no return to a hard Border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, British peer and west Cork resident, Lord David Puttnam has said.

Lord Puttnam said he believed the EU “would not do anything in its Brexit negotiations with the UK that would be likely to worsen the economic plight of Ireland.”

European leaders such as Angela Merkel and François Hollande were very aware of “the complex historic reality” that exists between the two nations.

“I profoundly believe that what I can only describe as a ‘constructive fudge’ will evolve in order to avoid a return to a hard Border. If is there a problem, it will not be with the UK, but as a consequence of the EU deciding that it has to behave punitively.

However, I continue to believe the EU will not willingly act in a way that makes life unnecessarily difficult for Ireland,” Lord Puttnam told The Irish Times.

Lord Puttnam suggested that the EU will be conscious that, after Brexit, Ireland will be the only English speaking country in the new union, and that’s something that could prove beneficial to Ireland in terms of attracting investment, as well as being of wider benefit to the EU.

Helpful

“It’s helpful to the EU to have an English language member – if you lose that, you lose quite a lot in terms of attracting international business, much of which is carried out in English. When a Japanese banker is talking to a German banker in France, the conversation doesn’t take place in Japanese, French or German, but in English.

“Ireland could well benefit from that. I believe Dublin has a better shot at attracting the financial services world than Frankfurt. American, Chinese or Japanese bankers being transferred to Europe aren’t going to be all that thrilled at having to go off and learn French, German or Italian; they’d prefer to continue to do business in English.”

Lord Puttnam also played down the implications of comments emerging from the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham this week, where both prime minister, Theresa May, and home secretary, Amber Rudd, raised the issue of foreign workers in the UK.

Ms May referred to low skilled British workers losing their jobs to cheaper labour from Eastern Europe, while Ms Rudd said that British companies would be asked to prepare lists of the number of foreign workers they employ, relative to their British employees.

Non-starter

But Lord Puttnam said Ms Rudd’s proposal was “almost certainly a non-starter”. He cited the response of the Confederation of British Industry and other employer organisations, and said it was unlikely to have any significant impact on Irish people living and working in the UK.

Lord Puttnam said that while Ms May had struck a defiant note in her Tory Party leadership address about leading the UK out of the EU, and being able to set its own limits on immigration while retaining free trade in goods and services, everything she said had to be viewed in the context of the audience she was addressing.

Source: Irish Times 

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