Ireland-Germany fear ‘no-deal’ Brexit


IRELAND and Germany have issued warnings about the consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

To ‘prepare for no deal’ the Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney launched a major ‘omnibus bill’ to be fast-tracked through the Irish parliament and be signed into law before 29 March, when the UK is due to leave the EU.

He said he hopes that major legislation will never be used.

Coveney said a ‘disorderly’ Brexit would be a ‘lose, lose, lose’ for the UK, the EU and the Republic of Ireland.

The Irish legislation is designed to support businesses and to protect jobs, essential services and citizens’ rights.

Coveney, who unveiled the legislation yesterday, said he hoped it ‘proves redundant’ and his ‘only desire’ was to see it sit ‘on the shelf’.

He said: ‘A no-deal Brexit will be a major shock for the Irish economy. We cannot offset all the damage it will do but we are doing everything we can.’

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said, ‘This special law enables us to mitigate against some of the worst effects of no deal by protecting citizens’ rights, security and facilitating extra supports for vulnerable businesses and employers.’

The main provisions of the legislation are:

  • Justice – maintaining existing extradition arrangements
  • Health – allowing citizens to be able to continue access services in the other jurisdiction
  • Social welfare – enabling pensions and other benefits to continue to be paid
  • Energy – giving the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities the powers to deal with unusual market activity on the all-Ireland electricity network
  • Transport – allowing cross-border rail and bus services to continue.

Hubertus Heil the German Labour Minister has warned that Germany might need to activate its Kurzarbeit scheme of support subsidies for companies suffering stress.

‘We need reserves at the employment agency for hard times, in case we have to shore up Kurzarbeit and secure jobs.’

Meanwhile, the Halle Institute for Economic Research warned last week that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could lead to 100,000 direct job losses in Germany in the car plants of Volkswagen and BMW.

The institute said: ‘A hard Brexit would disrupt global value chains. Britain’s disorderly withdrawal has the potential to cause a significant loss of wealth.

‘From an economic perspective it is crucial a deal can still be reached.’