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European Commission president: 'Good Friday Agreement must be preserved in all its dimensions'

Jean-Claude Juncker said that the European Union stood “firm and united” when it came to Ireland.

File photo of Jean-Claude Juncker.
File photo of Jean-Claude Juncker.
Image: AP/PA Images

THE PRESIDENT OF the European Commission has said that there should be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland that the Good Friday Agreement should be “preserved in all its dimensions” following Brexit.

Speaking this morning in the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker said that the European Union stood “firm and united” when it came to Ireland.

The border between Northern Ireland and the south has become one of the key issues of Brexit, with both the UK and the EU professing that they do not want a return to a hard border.

Despite this, the UK has been unable to come up with concrete proposals that would manage to help avoid this outcome after they leave the EU.

Speaking today, Juncker said that just a year remained before the deadline for the UK to officially leave the EU, and that much still needed to be decided.

“As the clock counts down with one year to go it is now time to translate speeches into treaties,” Juncker said.

“To turn commitments into agreements. Broad suggestions and wishes on the future relationship to specific workable solutions.

This is especially important when it comes to Ireland.

Juncker said that it had already been agreed that there “should be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland”.

“The Good Friday Agreement must be preserved in all its dimensions and life for citizens on both sides of the border should be the same as it is today,” he said.

He said that there were options on the table to do this and that these needed to be worked through.

“The European Union, the south, the 27 member states stand firm and united when it comes to Ireland,” Juncker said.

For us this is not an Irish issue, it is a European issue.

Last week at a joint press conference with Leo Varadkar, the president of the European Council Donald Tusk said that he had spoken to all 27 EU leaders and each one told him their priorities regarding Brexit are “protecting the peace process and avoiding the hard border”.

Read: Varadkar thanks Choctaw Nation for support during Famine, announces scholarship programme

Read: People are unsure if the government is doing a good job on Brexit

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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