Wednesday, 16 January 2019 11:55

Britain bound with Brexit on the brink

Written by  Peter Burke
DCANZ’s Kimberley Crewther. DCANZ’s Kimberley Crewther.

The executive director of the Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ), Kimberly Crewther, will fly to Europe in the next few days.

She'll arrive around the time British MPs are scheduled to vote on the plan for how their country will leave the European Union.

Crewther says she will meet industry and government contacts in London, Geneva and Brussels as part of a normal round of talks with dairy leaders in Europe.

But her visit timing coincides with huge turmoil over Britain’s Brexit plans.

“I am hoping to gain a little more certainty as to how things are shaping up,” Crewther told Rural News.

“Yep, Brexit worries me because it is significant in changing trade relationships globally. There may be additional barriers between markets so it’s always a risk that it will be less favourable.

“At the same time, if Brexit goes head there is the possibility for the UK to forge new free trade agreements, so while we are concerned, we are also looking for whatever opportunities may eventuate.”

With the UK Brexit vote due this week there are all sorts of last minute activities. Speculation about what might happen is rife with growing fears that Britain may end up leaving the EU on March 29 without a deal.

Ireland has summoned all its ambassadors worldwide to Dublin for briefings. Irish deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney at one briefing criticised Brexit hardliners who he says think “no price is too high to pay for their version of Brexit”. He said that “in the absence of realism” the hardliners would win to everyone’s cost – most notably Ireland’s.

Meanwhile, The Guardian newspaper is calling for another referendum on Brexit, saying the Government’s attempts to get a deal have failed and the only alternative now is to put the matter on hold and vote again.

The paper says in an editorial:

“Brexit has never been a properly worked out policy prescription for Britain’s problems. For many Tories, it is an attitude of mind, an amorphous resentment against the modern world, foreigners and Britain’s loss of great-power status.

“This explains more than anything else why hardline Brexiteers reject all compromise, refuse responsibility for the practical options, and continue to fantasise about a no-deal outcome.”

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