The EU will stand in full solidarity with Ireland in light of Brexit, President of the European Council Charles Michel told the Prime Minister or Taoiseach of Ireland, Micheál Martin.
Michel told Martin that his message was “simple”: Brexit should not have negative consequences for Ireland when it comes to EU relations.
In his speech, Michel made it clear that the EU values a stable Ireland in the post-Brexit era, referring back to the Good Friday Agreement that ended the violence between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the 1960’s.
“What's at stake is what we cherish most. The Good Friday Agreement, the peace and stability of the island of Ireland and the integrity of the single market. This is not only an Irish issue. This is a European one,” Michel said.
Michel further referred to the Northern Ireland protocol, which is part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. The protocol guarantees the continuation of EU customs rules of the Northern Ireland border with Ireland, which will ensure smooth traffic from one side to the other.
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Michel reassured Martin that this protocol will be fully guaranteed, calling it “a matter of law, a matter of trust”.
Shortly after the meeting, Michel tweeted that this is “the moment of truth” for Brexit, calling on the British government to take “significant steps”.
The moment of truth.To get to a deal, we need significant steps by our British friends in the coming days. This isn’t just an Irish issue. This is a European one.#Brexit pic.twitter.com/EoxHjZMSOi — Charles Michel (@eucopresident) October 8, 2020
Thursday morning, Martin said ahead of the meeting that he hoped “that, as negotiations intensify, it will be possible to find a means to bridge the considerable gaps that remain between the EU and UK positions”.
Martin agreed with Michel that a Brexit agreement should be reached, but “not at any cost”.
The Brussels Times