Commission: Ireland needs ‘special attention’ on Brexit

European Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans.

Ireland’s case deserves “special attention” in upcoming Brexit talks, the European Commission has said.

Frans Timmermans, the commission’s first vice-president, who is in Dublin today on an official visit, also said any future Brexit deal must keep to the “letter and spirit” of the Good Friday Agreement, including on border issues.

He said the deal should “reflect the need for Ireland and the UK to be able to prolong their agreements” and the EU had a “strategic interest” in ensuring Brexit did not upend the peace process in the North.

“If the Taoiseach and the foreign minister say that a border will cause problems, this should be something we all keep in mind when we talk about finding solutions that reflect the need to separate the UK from the EU, but also reflect the need for Ireland and the UK to be able to prolong their agreements, and for all of the EU to take its share of responsibility to maintain both the letter and the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement,” Mr Timmermans told the Irish Examiner.

“What the final outcome of this is going to be, I don’t know, but I just want to underline again and again that we all have a duty towards the Irish citizens, whether they are citizens of the Republic, or Irish people living on the island, to make sure that this historic achievement of peace is not put into jeopardy.

“How you do that technically is something we need to look at in the negotiations, but this state of mind should be guiding our hand in the negotiations.”

He described the Good Friday Agreement as “a miracle” that needs to be “upheld and protected with all the political clout we can muster in Europe”.

Mr Timmermans will meet Enda Kenny in Dublin.

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