European Parliament calls for stability of peace process to be recognised in Brexit talks

The European Parliament this morning voted for a document that calls for the stability of the Northern Ireland peace process to be recognised during the Brexit talks.

It also stresses the need to prevent a hardening of the border between the Republic and the North.

The document referred to other key issues such as citizens' rights and the financial settlement.

Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune says the Parliament recognises Ireland's special circumstances when it comes to Brexit.

"The unique situation that is Northern Ireland is also mentioned very clearly and that's very important," she said.

"It has to be addressed, it has to be maintained and that was the approach of the Government and indeed MEPs since the election for Brexit that the Irish situation would remain centre-stage and it has done and we've given a firm message today."

Deirdre Clune

MEPs also voted to oppose moving on to a second phase of Brexit talks, but the vote at the European Parliament is non-binding.

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, says "serious differences remain" between the bloc and the UK.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the parliament more needs to be done.

Sean Kelly MEP has called for an open-ended transition period for Britain after it leaves the EU in March 2019.

European Parliament members approved a resolution today by a huge majority that sufficient progress hasn't been made to move forward on trade issues post-Brexit.

Speaking during the debate in Strasbourg, Mr. Kelly said two years was fine as a starting point but an open-ended transition period would be better for all sides.

"A minimum target maybe of two years, but not to set a maximum," he said.

"It is during that transition period that people would realise what Mr Barnier said today hasn't been realised until now. The consequences have been underestimated and the extraordinary complexity of the issue.

"So given enough time people will realise that and then come to an arrangement that will be in the best interests of the EU, the best interests of the United Kingdom and of Ireland."



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