Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (221, 223)

Micheál Martin

Question:

221. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views regarding the possibility of a referendum being held in Britain on their future membership of the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2396/13]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

223. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the effect of Britain opting out of the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5096/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 221 and 223 together.

The UK’s relationship with the European Union is of course a matter, in the first instance, for its Government and people. Any question of a referendum is therefore a matter for the Government and people of the UK. I would, however, hope to see it continue to play a full and active part in the EU into the future.

In common with all Member States, the UK gains significantly from its membership of the European Union, not least through free access to a Single Market of more than half a billion people. At the same time, the UK also makes a valued contribution to our Union. The EU is, without a doubt, stronger for having the UK as a Member State and I believe that the UK would continue to be better served as a member of the EU rather than opting-out.

Nationally, our excellent bilateral relations with the UK are reflected in our close working relationship with them in an EU context, not least on the range of issues on which we are like-minded, such as exploring the considerable opportunities presented by the Single Market and the EU’s ambitious trade agenda.