Saturday 24 August 2019

European Union will not allow Ireland to suffer from Brexit - key EU co-ordinator

Guy Verhofstadt. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Guy Verhofstadt. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Colm Kelpie

The European Union will not allow Ireland to suffer from Brexit, the European Parliament's Brexit Coordinator as told politicians during a special meeting in Leinster House.

Guy Verhofstadt said he was in Dublin to deliver a message of solidarity with the Irish people.

"Solidarity with Ireland and Irish citizens. What has been clear from the beginning is that we will never allow that Ireland will suffer by the British decision to leave the European Union," Mr Verhofstadt said.

"That's a commitment that we have taken with the European Parliament, and it's a commitment that has been taken by the European Union as a whole."

Mr Verhofstadt was addressing a joint meeting of the committes for EU Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Earlier he met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Verhofstadt said the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is in "no way a natural one".

"It's not a river, it's not a mountain. It meanders for 310 miles through meadows, forests, farmland, it cannot be securely policed and is therefore an illogical divide, one that at least should remain invisible, just as it is today."

He said the border had created "chaos, created hate, created violence".

"So to reduce this to a line on a map was a crucial achievement 20 years ago, and an achievement in which the European Union, UK and Ireland played a decisive role."

He said that saying the border problem would be solved by technology is "not convincing".

He also said Ireland will not be used as a bargaining chip in the Brexit talks.

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