This weekend, the leaders of the European Union will discuss the issue of an automatic accession of Northern Ireland to the EU once the Brexit has been finalised, if it is reunified with the Republic of Ireland, according to European sources on Friday. Ireland should ask its 26 partners to endorse this idea during their meeting in Brussels on Saturday, without the presence of the United Kingdom, where they have to decide on the terms of reference for the upcoming negotiations with London in the framework of Brexit.
“We expect Ireland to request to add a clause to the minutes of the meeting of the European Council on Saturday, which would stipulate that in the case of reunification of the island of Ireland, within the framework of the peace agreement for Northern Ireland, indicated by ‘Good Friday’ (editor’s note: 10 April 1998), united Ireland would then become a member of the EU”, a source close to the European Council told AFP on Friday.
“We do not think it will alter the stipulations as such, but will only be an addition to the minutes of the meeting,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
The Brexit vote by UK voters, which will lead to the UK’s exit from the European Union, has raised the sensitive issue of the future of Northern Ireland and its border with Ireland.
The EU believes that issues concerning Northern Ireland are among those that need to be resolved in the context of the Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels before discussions can begin on a future trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU.
Brussels added that if it were indeed added on Saturday, such a “Kenny text”, named after the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, would not change the situation of Ireland and Northern Ireland: “It would not suffice to confirm that it is clear that a possible United Ireland would continue to be a member of the European Union”, the source told AFP.
“The EU, of course, does not take a stand on the possibility of a united Ireland. If this were to arise, it would be for the peoples of Ireland and Northern Ireland to decide, in accordance with the so-called Good Friday Agreement”, the source said.
On the other hand, once the Brexit has been registered, Scotland would have to make a formal application for membership of the EU if it were ever to become independent of England and the rest of the United Kingdom, reminded the EU.
The specifications for the Brexit negotiations to be adopted on 27 Saturday in Brussels are currently only a very general mention of Northern Ireland, specifying that “flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, with the aim of of avoiding a permanent border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.”
The Brussels Times