Midlands North-West MEP, Colm Markey, has warned of the risks of different standards emerging between Britain and the EU, particularly along the border counties.
“Whether there is a deal or no deal, we are likely to see some divergence in standards after the end of the transition period. While there seems now to be potential for agreement on “non-regression” – that is to say that the current set of standards over safety, workers’ rights, the environment and climate change will not change – not going backwards is not the same as going forwards together.”
“My concern is that the British may decide not to keep up with any future improvement of standards. The very heart of the pro-Brexit position was to be allowed to decide for themselves to undercut EU rules and regulations and the risk is that divergence will increase over time. This could potentially become a more significant factor than customs procedures or tariffs. “
“There was a time when the British Standard (Kitemark) was seen as a world leader, a gold standard towards which everyone else aspired. Let us hope that British standards are not destined to become the bare minimum in future.”
“There has been discussion around a “ratchet clause” where both parties could agree to raise standards to an agreed level at the same time. The difficulty is where one party decides to keep their standards at a lower level to gain competitive advantage and whether or not this would trigger tariffs.”
“While the operation of different standards would be difficult across the Island of Ireland, it would be particularly challenging in the border region. Likewise, the imposition of tariffs will hit hardest those industries and regions that have the greatest interaction.”
“It is in the interest of communities on both sides of the border to have continued regulatory alignment across the island of Ireland for a prolonged period into the future”