Maintenance of common travel area questioned by Hogan

EU Agricultural Commissioner asks if Britain will lower its food standards in US deals with ‘hormone beef’

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has cast doubt on the maintenance of the common travel area in a post-Brexit situation.

He also questioned whether the British government would have to sacrifice its food standards in any deals with the United States as he stressed that the EU would not compromise its high agri-food standards, “the highest standards in the world”.

And stressing the need for Irish farmers to diversify exports from Britain to other markets, he said they should forge new alliances in the EU, which could include the Dutch, Danes and French.

Speaking in the RDS where he addressed the Irish Farmer's Journal conference on "Navigating Global Trade", Mr Hogan signalled there could be problems with the common travel area of free movement between Ireland and Britain for Irish and British citizens.


He said that if British prime minister Theresa May insisted on leaving the single market and the customs' union, then "for the first time in our history we are the European border to a third country that is outside the EU and that has implications for the first time."

Mr Hogan said: “I hear people talking about the common travel area and that we want to maintain what we’ve had since 1922.

“ We don’t have the same situation since 1922 if the United Kingdom leaves because we’re in EU and they’re not. So it’s a completely different ball game in terms of the implementation of these ideas and ideals.”

The commissioner said “the match is on” once Article 50 was triggered and the sooner negotiations started the better because it was creating uncertainty.

“I think once it gets started at least then the match is on and we can see a horizon for two years in terms of concluding at least the principles of departure,” he said.

He stressed that in any future free trade agreement other countries would have to“ raise themselves up to our standard and not the other way around”.

The Commissioner questioned if in any deals Britain made with the United States, “will British food standards become the sacrificial lamb on the altar of a global Britain.

“How is allowing your market to be flooded with hormone beef taking back control,” he asked.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times