EU's chief Brexit negotiator shares Irish border concern

In his address yesterday (Thursday 11 May) he stated that Ireland's interests, such as the impact of economic ties to the United Kingdom, freedom of movement and the peace process in Northern Ireland would be supported by the European Union as a bloc and as a top priority in forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

Addressing both the Dáil and the Seanad, Mr Barnier said: "I want to reassure the Irish people: in this negotiation Ireland's interest will be the Union's interest".

It is clear there is an opportunity to create a special deal for Northern Ireland which takes into account the all-island dimension, avoids a hard border, protects the local economy and defends the Good Friday Agreement.

The EU's negotiating guidelines call for a "flexible and creative" approach to the customs issue.

He restated the EU's insistence that the issue of the UK-Ireland border, citizens' rights and "the financial settlement" must be the first priorities for talks.

Ms Mogherini said: "We underestimate the power we have, and underestimating or downplaying it we hurt ourselves".

Mairead McGuinness, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, led a group of influential members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on a series of meetings with farming, business and community groups both in Northern Ireland and the Republic on Thursday.

"Brexit changes the external borders of the EU".

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Brexit will "come at a cost" and the issues of the divorce bill and Irish border must be settled before trade talks begin, the EU's chief negotiator said today. "It is in the interests of us all, including our European partners, for this to happen", Mr Blair said.

It was the final engagement of his two-day visit to Ireland.

On the future of the leadership of the Labour Party, Mr Blair said it would be best for him to keep a "diplomatic silence" for the time being.

The measures protected the single market, food safety and standards, he added.

"A hard border between the countries would be a disaster and I am sure everyone will and must do all they can to avoid it".

The Prime Minister has accused European Union politicians and officials of trying to influence the outcome of the 8 June election.

She said this is critical, given the role the European Parliament has in agreeing the shape of the final deal to emerge between the United Kingdom and the EU.

He said: 'We want these negotiations to succeed.

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