Tuesday , January 19 2021

The EU Ombudsman calls for the publication of the Brexit Nx report



EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly called on the European Commission to publish a key document describing all areas of North-South cooperation under the Good Friday Agreement, which is at risk because of Brexit.

The secret document deals with the so-called mapping exercise, which has become a central board of the Irish government's strategy to highlight the risks of the Good Friday Agreement.

The mapping exercise underscores the extent to which North-South cooperation relies on membership in the EU, both by Ireland and by Britain.

However, both the European Commission and the British government, which technically owned the document, refused to publish it because the negotiations around the Irish pillar were so sensitive.

In the end, a case was transferred to the Ombudsman.

Last night, Ms. Reilly told RTÉ News now that there was "no clear reason for [mapping] A table that will not be published "after the conclusion of negotiations on the Soviet Union.

The mapping exercise was carried out by the British government in the summer and fall of 2017 at the request of the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

When British, Irish and EU officials investigated all avenues for cooperation between North and South, they discovered that there were around 150 areas which were supported by the law of the European Union.

Article 47 of the last December joint report between the EU and the UK refers to the mapping exercise, indicating that it has been completed, but the document itself has never been published.

In January the complainant asked the European Commission to publish the document, but the commission refused on the grounds that the document is actually an asset of Britain and that London wants to remain confidential.

After several attempts to publish the mapping exercise, the complainant turned to Emily O'Reilly, EU Ombudsman, on the grounds that the negotiations on brixite should be transparent and that the public had a right to know which areas of North South cooperation would be at risk because of Brexit .

According to Ms. O'Reilly's investigation, the commission argued that "the disclosure of the requested document, originating in the British government, against the explicit will of Britain, would undermine trust between Britain and the Commission during a sensitive period in the negotiations.

According to her final report, the committee told the complainant: "Public disclosure of the document requested during the ongoing negotiations against the British authorities' objection at a stage where both sides are still examining" flexible and imaginative "solutions would significantly limit the ability of the European Commission to cooperate With the UK in an atmosphere of trust and receive useful information from UK authorities.

O'Reilly, who obtained access to the document, told the complainant that it contained "a wide range of cross-border issues such as trade, animal health, tourism, environmental protection, cross-border fraud prevention, mutual recognition of professional skills and agriculture."

The EU's Ombudsman told the complainant: "There is, therefore, a very strong case for citizens to know how these issues are taken into account in the negotiations between the UK and the Commission, and simply to raise awareness of the extent to which the EU legal and political framework empowers cooperation in many important areas Of life on both sides of the Irish border. "

In a November 9 decision, O'Reilly said, however, that the map mapping document was part of sensitive EU-UK negotiations, but once the negotiations were over, the document should be published.

The two negotiating teams completed the withdrawal agreement last Monday.

Ms. O'Reilly told the complainant: "It is clear that issues concerning the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland prove difficult to resolve in the context of the negotiations."

Her final report states: "The Commission accepts … that content [of the mapping exercise] Is arouses political sensitivities as it shows – in one document – the significant extent that EU member states influence North-South cooperation within the framework of the North-South Ministerial Council, a subject that is the subject of ongoing discussions in the context of difficult withdrawal negotiations. "

O'Reilly concluded that "the Commission's claim that the discovery may undermine negotiations and international relations at a certain time."

However, she said that she "understands" and "expects" that the committee "will change its position" after the negotiations are completed.

Last night Ms. O'Reilly said: "Our mapping chart comprehensively shows the many elements of cross-border cooperation, based on EU law – which are factual in nature.

"While the commission – as requested by the UK – refused to release the table so as not to interfere with negotiations, there is now a clear reason the table will not be published.

"Indeed, as key decisions regarding the future of Britain and its relationship with the EU are now going to be, there is a strong public interest in his release."


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