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EU needs a real no deal contingency plan – Ní Riada

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the European Commission to produce a contingency plan for the EU Budget in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Budgets Committee made the call after Commissioner Oettinger announced plans for what was described as a ‘mini withdrawal agreement’ in order to provide certainty for the 2019 EU budget.

However, Ms Ní Riada, in her capacity as Budget Coordinator, challenged the Commission on their proposals, pointing out that they only served as a contingency if Britain continued to pay into the budget.

“This is a practical proposal and while all it does is hold the British to the bare minimum of their responsibilities, that doesn’t mean we can just assume they’ll see it that way,” she said.

“As we have seen with the backstop debacle, the British Government has been loathe to live up to even their most basic responsibilities.

“We have a political impasse in Westminster being driven by Tory infighting.

“We have see a real recklessness from the British side and because of that this proposal remains aspirational, based on optimism rather than realism.

“The proposal aims to provide legal certainty that Britain will continue to pay into the EU budget for 2019 in line with statements made by May. The British should of course honour their commitments and guarantee that they will continue to pay into the EU budget for 2019 but just because they should doesn’t mean that they will.

“This proposal calls for a written commitment from Britain that they will continue to pay in 2019 in full and accept all necessary controls and audits related to EU funding.

“It’s a reasonable request but we are not dealing with a reasonable Government and as such it falls far short of what is needed in a contingency plan.

“A real contingency plan would be on which secures the budget in the event the British don’t honour their commitments. We can hope for the best but we have to prepare for the worst and our priority should be on ensuring that those who rely on the EU budget continue to be supported.

“If the political impasse continues this proposal will suffer the same fate as all other agreements put forward in the last two years.

“We need to be preparing for a worst case scenario rather than engaging in wishful thinking and assuming the British will see reason.”

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