Environmental Pillar cautiously welcomes the Withdrawal Agreement & Political Declaration: will a level playing field deliver cross-border alignment?
The conclusion of negotiations on a Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration lay the groundwork for designing a future EU-UK relationship incorporating far-reaching environmental standards.
In the Withdrawal Agreement the UK and the EU have committed to maintaining, as a minimum, the EU environmental standards at the time of the end of any transition period.
It does not include a requirement for full alignment by the UK with the EU’s environmental standards, in the future, but it serves as a strong basis for negotiation and as an important element for the island of Ireland in the event of the backstop kicking in.
The Political Declaration calls on both parties to build on the environmental commitments described in the Withdrawal Agreement. We welcome this and look forward to ensuring this is delivered upon in the coming negotiations for the sake of the economy, communities and the environment on the island of Ireland.
Enforcement of any future environmental alignment on the island of Ireland will rely on the UK putting in place an effective and independent body to ensure compliance with environmental standards. Failure to do this could lead to an undermining of regulatory quality, competitive disadvantage and ultimately harm nature.
About the Environmental Pillar
The Environmental Pillar is a national social partner of national environmental organisations. It works to promote the protection and enhancement of the environment, together with the creation of a viable economy and a just society, without compromising the viability of the planet for current and future generations of all species and ecosystems.