EU brexit summit eyes up position for unified Ireland

Nathanael Williams

United Ireland would be welcomed into the EU according to EU representatives 

THE EU could be developing a plan to allow a united Ireland to join without barriers or delays according to the bloc’s representatives.

EU leaders are gearing up for an emergency summit in Brussels tomorrow (Saturday 29 April) where they will discuss a common negotiation approach to the Brexit talks and the UK’s position.

The news follows a political dilemma in Northern Ireland which has seen power-sharing talks stall and deadlines extended following an election which saw unionist parties decline in seats and share of the vote.

“The united Ireland would be a member of the EU.” 

A spokesperson for the EU Council told AFP news agency: “We expect Ireland to ask on Saturday for a statement to be added to the minutes of the European Council, which states that in case of a unification of the island in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement, the united Ireland would be a member of the EU.

“We do not expect a change of the guidelines themselves, but only a statement (of) the minutes” of the meeting, the source said on condition of anonymity.

“However, the EU does of course not take a stance on the possibility of a united Ireland. Should this question arise, it would be for the peoples of Ireland and Northern Ireland to decide in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.”

Read more – UK political crisis mounts with possibility Stormont talks will be delayed till after #GE17 

Following the EU referendum and the UK’s vote to leave the bloc, a set of sensitive issues about the future of Northern Ireland, including the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement and the fate of the border with Ireland have arisen. The agreement, which brought peace and ended decades of violence in the country, includes provisions for Northern Ireland to reunify with the Republic in the future if a majority so chooses.

There have been suggestions that Northern Ireland could face direct rule from London as a result of the nationalist Sinn Fein and the main unionist DUP not coming to a power-sharing agreement. 

UK ministers such as David Davis, secretary for exiting the EU, have stated that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic (ROI) will not see restrictions on trade or the movement of people and services. 

The EU says questions about Northern Ireland are among those that must be resolved as part of the Brexit divorce agreement before talks can begin on a future EU-UK trade deal.

Picture courtesy of Cedric Poisner

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.