Barnier ‘attentive’ to Ireland’s border

As David Davis and Michel Barnier began Brexit negotiations last week, Ireland will be somewhat reassured that they have an ally in the form of the EU’s chief negotiator.

The UK general election impact may have looming impacts for the outcome of the Brexit negotiations but for now it hasn’t changed much. That’s because over three months after Article 50 was triggered, no negotiation headway has been made.

Barnier has repeatedly stated that the EU are ready to begin the process once the UK is ready and in the wake of the general election, he stated: “I am concerned [by the need] to have a partner for the negotiation as quickly as possible. That’s my preoccupation today. I need a British delegation on the other side of the table, a head of the British delegation that is stable, accountable and that has a mandate.”

Adding: “We should start very quickly because time is passing and we have to work to the timeline fixed by the treaty. It will take us several months to draw out the conditions of an orderly withdrawal, with difficult and sensitive points of discussion. So let’s not waste time.”

However, now that the negotiation process has officially started, Ireland will serve as one of three priorities, alongside people and money. This was what Barnier told a joint-sitting of both Houses of the Oireachtas when he became the first non-head of state or prime minister to address the Irish parliament during his visit in early May.

At the time he said he would be “attentive” to anything that may “weaken dialogue and peace” in Ireland.

Without a unified voice in Northern Ireland and with the DUP likely to prop up the Conservative Government, Barnier made it clear that the ‘remainers’ of Northern Ireland and those in the Republic of Ireland would not be overlooked.

“The question of borders is one of the three big areas where the UK decision to quit the EU has created uncertainty — lots of uncertainty,” he said.

“In particular, the Irish question is one I’m very attentive to. We must preserve the Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions, maintain the common travel area as it is, and respect the rules of the single market. [We must] organise in one manner or another the control of people and goods which leave or enter the EU. I think it’s possible.”

The new Irish Taoiseach has also stated his desire to avoid any adverse impact on the rights and freedoms of citizens, trade and the economy. Brexit and re-establishing the devolved government in Northern Ireland were two key topics he raised when meeting with Theresa May last week.

Related Posts