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Farry encouraged by Brexit report text agreement

December 15, 2017 2:24 PM

Stephen Farry profile pic 2Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said he is "encouraged" by agreement of EU and UK on the Brexit Joint Report, as it aims to protect the Good Friday Agreement and avoid a hard border.

Dr Farry was speaking after the EU agreed to move Brexit talks onto their second phase. The Joint Report, agreed by Prime Minister Theresa May last week, says the UK will be required to permit freedom of movement during any transition period, adding an agreement on the border must be respected and translated into legal terms as quickly as possible.

"While Brexit remains a deep and fundamental error for the UK as a whole, it is nevertheless important the Brexit negotiations progress as smoothly as possible to achieve the best possible outcome. Alliance is encouraged by the text in the Joint Report in relation to Ireland and Northern Ireland. The protection of the Good Friday Agreement and the avoidance of a hard border are now clear fixed objectives.

"Much more detailed work must now be carried out to build on this foundation. The Report requires far-reaching and imaginative solutions in relation to both the Single Market and Customs Union to deliver the stated objectives. Half-measures will not be sufficient, and legal and governance clarity is essential to give certainty to business and future investors.

"If the UK as a whole does not opt for a very soft Brexit, then Northern Ireland must remain with the Single Market. Our paper Bridges not Borders set out a solution which recognises both east-west and north-south interactions are of equal importance, and allows us to have a strong foot in both the British and European markets."

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