- Prime Minister to visit Northern Ireland for first time since referendum called
- 50,000 jobs in Northern Ireland could be linked to trade with the EU
- Prime Minister to warn that Northern Ireland’s farmers need answers on alternatives to EU
Northern Ireland is better off in a reformed European Union, the Prime Minister has said ahead of his first visit to the region since the date of the EU referendum was announced.
With more than 60% of Northern Ireland exports going to the EU, the Prime Minister today warned that leaving the single market of 500 million people would be a “leap in the dark”.
And with the United Kingdom’s only land border with another EU member state, he warned that access to trade and investment from the EU is particularly important for Northern Ireland.
Speaking ahead of his visit, the Prime Minister said:
I’m clear that the people of Northern Ireland, and the whole UK, are better off in a reformed European Union.
More than 60% of Northern Ireland’s exports go to the EU, and around 40% of its investment comes from the EU. Putting that at risk is a leap in the dark.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of the EU to Northern Ireland’s large farming sector, saying:
It’s vital that the voices of Northern Ireland’s farmers are heard in this debate. They want security and certainty. I’ve never argued the EU is perfect, but I believe a reformed Europe gives them access to a huge single market and an income that helps them keep food prices low for families.
Those who want the UK to leave the EU need to give answers on their alternatives.
Key facts: EU and the Northern Ireland economy
- the Treasury estimates 50,000 jobs in Northern Ireland could be linked to trade with the rest of the European Union
- since 1998, the value of Northern Ireland’s exports to the EU has increased by over 50% in real terms
- exports of food and livestock products and road vehicles more than trebled in real terms over the same period