07. 11. 2018 13:53
Slovakia must get ready for the scenario of a tough Brexit, although a "divorce" without an agreement will be more painful for the UK than for the EU member states, stated Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini after meeting the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Bratislava on Tuesday.
Barnier said at the press conference that bargaining on Brexit is "very negative" and the deal won't bring any benefits to either side. He stressed the need for certainty regarding the back-up solution or backstop. This is, according to his words, necessary to ensure the integrity of the internal market as well as security in Ireland. An agreement on Britain's departure from the EU is still not completely prepared, lacking, among other things, a solution to the border issue between Ireland and Northern Ireland, added Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini.
"The situation relating to Ireland and Northern Ireland remains a sensitive issue, because the EU 27 are interested in maintaining the single market and all the freedoms that apply to it," Peter Pellegrini said a joint press conference. Both London and Brussels want to avoid the introduction of checks at the future external border of the European Union between its member state and Northern Ireland, fearing renewed tension in this UK province, however, they haven't agreed so far on how to do it.
"It is in our interest to defend the interests of the citizens of Europe - our citizens, our businesses and the integrity of the internal market and the related four freedoms that are our greatest wealth," added Barnier.
Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák, who also took part in the discussions, warned of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit. "We must exert maximum effort to reach consensus and avoid the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU without a deal. It's the duty we have towards people and the business sector," stated Lajčák. Nonetheless, he added that the scenario of the United Kingdom leaving the EU without a deal cannot be ruled out and, therefore, backup plans are being conceived at both the level of the European Commission and member states.