UK rather than EU needs to make Brexit concessions, Varadkar says | Irish Times |
Mr Varadkar said the EU has already agreed to a review clause and a good faith clause to help Mrs May get her deal over the line.
"This problem of a hard border on our island with disruption to trade and our economy, these are problems created in Britain. Surely they are the ones coming forward with further concessions and further offers to us in terms of what more they can do to mitigate the damage they are creating."
Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland director of the Confederation of British Industry has warned that business investment is "evaporating" in the North as economic growth grinds to a "near standstill" because of the Brexit stalemate.
Angela McGowan said the uncertainty was making the North's economy "more fragile than ever".
"No deal would unleash a minefield of consequences on the local economy that cannot be circumvented by mini-deals and last-minute horse-trading. Holding out for unicorns will guarantee no deal. Only backing a deal will take business uncertainty off boiling point," she said.
The Chartered Accountants Ulster Society was similarly downbeat, warning the North would be in the "eye of the storm" if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It said a new industry survey found that just 11 per cent of businesses in the North were Brexit ready and more than half of firms currently have "very little" or "no plans in place to deal with the UK leaving the EU.
How five smaller UK firms are preparing for a no-deal Brexit | The Guardian |
Big companies from Jaguar Land Rover and Airbus to GlaxoSmithKline have dominated the headlines with their warnings and preparations for Brexit, but the possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on 29 March worries smaller firms just as much, if not more.
Britain has 5.7m small and medium-sized enterprises, defined as businesses with fewer than 250 employees, and concerns about a potentially disorderly departure from the EU span many sectors.
Pharmaceuticals and medical devices
Brexit forced the Manchester-based Elucigene Diagnostics to register its products in Malta this week, including moving a staff member there.
This will enable the company, which makes prenatal diagnostic kits for conditions including Down's syndrome and testing kits for cystic fibrosis, to continue selling its products in the EU once the UK leaves. The NHS is also a major customer.
"We've been trying to wait and wait and wait, but we had no other choice but to trigger our plans," says Mark Street-Docherty, the chief executive.
The additional cost of about £10,000 is manageable for a business with an annual turnover of £4m, but "it's another level of complexity of bringing products into the European market".
Brexit should be used to rebuild British manufacturing, according to John Wood, the director of Canatronics, a small business that supplies lighting and timers for industrial buildings.
"I just wish the government would stop messing around," says Wood, who voted to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum. The business is based in the Lancashire town of Chorley, but one of its key suppliers is in Germany.
Wood says the strength of his company's commercial relationships will help protect supply links, though the company is ready to use an alternative supplier from China if there are delays. The relatively small parts could be flown over at short notice if needed in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
Yorkshire coastline: Brexit vote a fisherman's revenge for failed protection of fishing grounds in the past ...
In Brexit Vote, Town's Nostalgia for Seafaring Past Muddied Its Future | The New York Times - April 2018 |
There aren't a lot of fishermen left in this town in North East England, once home to one of the largest fleet of trawlers in Britain. But nostalgia for the fishing industry permeates the place. So the result seemed inevitable when 70 percent of residents voted to leave the European Union. Britain's fishermen have complained for years about regulations imposed on all members.
The surprise came later when a local business group began lobbying to avoid tariffs, customs and the other burdens of departing the European Union. Social media scorn ensued. In thousands of tweets across the country, the people of Grimsby were derided as dummies and hypocrites. Either they wanted the upsides of Brexit with none of its costs, or they didn't grasp the harm that leaving would cause until it was too late.
"Grimsby residents branded `idiots' for Brexit vote as seafood industry seeks free trade deal," read a headline in a local newspaper.
Actually, what happened here is more about hearts than minds. The vote to leave was a vivid demonstration of the way emotions can transform politics and affect the economy. It's a phenomenon found around the world, including in the United States, where the legacy and the romance of a declining industrial past often eclipse the interests of new and expanding businesses. Time and again, economic facts are no competition for sentiment and history.
British Sea Fishing: The Cod Wars with Iceland
The cod wars were a series of disputes between Britain and Iceland running from the 1950s to the 1970s over the rights to fish in Icelandic waters. Although it was never a war in the conventional sense of the word (the massive and well-equipped Royal Navy would have easily defeated the tiny Icelandic Navy), the peak of the Cod Wars saw thirty seven Royal Navy warships mobilised to protect British trawlers fishing in the disputed territory. While the wars were eventually settled through diplomatic means there was conflict between British naval vessels and Icelandic ships out at sea. The Cod Wars showed how seriously nations took their fishing rights, and the lengths they would go to in order to access rich fishing grounds.
In the end Iceland were successful in extending their EEZ massively, and today the 200-mile limit is accepted internationally. Britain's reason for challenging Iceland's ever increasing EEZ was perfectly logical - British trawlers relied on catching cod in the plentiful waters of Iceland, and without this fish many ports built on the fishing industry would struggle. However, Iceland were always going to eventually win international backing to extend their EEZ, and Britain was fighting a losing battle by opposing this. The loss of access to these fisheries devastated many British fishing communities such as Hull and Grimsby and many Scottish ports, with as many as 1,500 fishermen and several thousand shore-based workers from these areas losing their jobs.
○ Dutch fishing village cancels festivities due to Brexit fear and EU regulations
Related reading ...
○ Antarctic's future in doubt after plan for world's biggest marine reserve is blocked
○ Whaling and Seal Hunting Defined South Georgia--but then Crashed
Antarctic fur seals, which were nearly wiped out by hunting on South Georgia Island in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are making a comeback. (Credit: The Pew Charitable Trusts)