EU’s Brexit envoy tells Britain: Border is your problem

Posted By: September 21, 2017

John Manley. Irish News. Belfast. Thursday, September 21, 2017

THE European Parliament’s key figure on Brexit has warned that not enough is being done to prevent a hard border in Ireland when Britain severs ties with Brussels.

Guy Verhofstadt was speaking during a two-day fact-

finding mission to Ireland.

The former Belgian prime minister’s whistle-stop tour saw him visit Belfast interface areas yesterday morning before meeting Stormont’s five main parties.

He later travelled south to a farm straddling the Monaghan-Armagh border, which after Brexit could be cut in two by a frontier dividing the UK and EU.

He is expected to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin today ahead of addressing a special joint sitting of Oireachtas committees.

Speaking to the media, Mr Verhofstadt suggested that potential problems with a post-Brexit border could be overcome if “Northern Ireland continued to be part of the customs union and even of the single market”.

However, the European Parliament’s point man for the Brexit negotiations insisted that finding a workable solution was the responsibility of the British government.

He said a “unique solution” was needed to avoid a hard border but later warned that not enough attention was being given to the issue.

He posted a Twitter video in which he stressed the need to secure the peace process.

“Every solution inside Brexit needs to take into account that the peace process and Good Friday Agreement is secure and there is no hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland,” he said.

“It is something that is a concern that is not sufficiently present around the negotiating table.”