Brussels chiefs could have their hands full with an in-house rebellion as leading politicians from Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands are set to meet in the Hauge this week.
The mini summit said to be between like-minded EU members states, will see Irish PM Enda Kenny meeting with Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Denmark’s Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
The three nations are reportedly due to discuss how they can ensure the upcoming Brexit talks progress smoothly and how to avoid the EU divorce payment causing delays to any future trade deal between the bloc and the UK.
The leaders are opposed to the Brexit-settlement, thought to be as high as £50bn, as Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands’ economy could be badly affected, the Irish Times reports.
Irish PM Enda Kenny is set to meet with other EU members who want a good UK trade deal
Minister of State for European Affairs Dara Murphy claimed Ireland was not seeking to build “formal alliances”, but was hoping to make its stance clear through a “collective” voice.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said the government hopes to secure a deal which would decrease the risk of job losses on the isle after Brexit.
Trade unions have pushed for the Irish government to seek funding from the European Union to protect the 167,000 food industry jobs that could come under threat if divorce talks turn sour and a hard border is created between the UK and the rest of Europe.
Almost 10 per cent of the Republic’s jobs is sustained by food and agriculture sector, 40 per cent of which is exported to the UK.
It would not be very wise to push Ireland towards also leaving the European Union
Mr Creed said securing the future of the sector was one of the key priorities heading into talks with Theresa May and her Brexiteers, according to the Irish Times.
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The minister also said Government’s long-term priority was ensuring unfettered access to the UK market without tariff.
Mr Creed’s suggestion the Irish Government would push for a good deal came after he described Brexit as “one of the most significant challenges Irish agri-food, farming and fisheries have faced since the foundation of the State”.
Speaking to the Express.co.uk, a Danish MEP, who has previously hammered Brussels for threatening to punish the UK for leaving the bloc, warned any such measures aimed at Britain, would also affect Ireland.
Brexit day: images from around the country as Britain invokes Article 50
Mon, April 3, 2017
The country reacts as Theresa May officially invokes Article 50, and begins the process of Britain leaving the European Union
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Pro-EU demonstrators protest outside Parliament
Adding it could cause other countries to abandon the bloc, Anders Vistisen, of the Danish People's Party, said: “In the European Parliament there is this sentiment of being angry, being disappointed in the British.
“But let’s be honest, the member states know that we are dependent on each other in security matters, and also in trade matters.
“From a Danish point of view, we would lose one of our biggest trading parties, same thing for Germany, same thing for the Netherlands and Belgium.
“Especially Ireland I think will be a moderating factor here because every time you punish Britain, you punish Ireland also.
“Ireland is still a member of the European Union and when people think twice about this they’ll [realise] it would not be very wise to push Ireland towards also leaving the European Union.”