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The potential for a united Ireland is on the front page of the Financial Times

EU leaders are expected to make formal reference to the potential for Irish reunification.

THE PROSPECT OF a united Ireland was given front page prominence in the Financial Times this morning as EU leaders prepare to meet in Brussels tomorrow.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has previously stated that the EU’s guidelines for Brexit should include a provision that would allow Northern Ireland automatically rejoin the EU should reunification with the Republic ever happen.

The Financial Times is reporting that this is set to be accepted by European leaders (subscription required).

The formal reference to Irish reunification is not expected to be one of the guidelines for Brexit negotiations, but would be part of accompanying documents for the summit.

Comparisons have been made, including by Kenny himself, between the reunification of Germany and the potential reunification of Ireland.

In the case of the latter, East Germany did not apply to join the EU when it was absorbed into West Germany.

Several treaties have greatly enhanced European integration in the years since that however, and Ireland has also joined the Euro.

Ireland is expected to ask the 27 European Union leaders to endorse the idea when they meet in Brussels tomorrow to adopt guidelines for Brexit negotiations. The UK is not part of tomorrow’s meeting.

“We expect Ireland to ask on Saturday for a statement to be added to the minutes of the European Council, which states that in case of a unification of the island in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement, the united Ireland would be a member of the EU,” an EU Council source told AFP.

We do not expect a change of the guidelines themselves, but only a statement to the minutes.


Brussels insisted that, if added on Saturday, a so-called “Kenny text” would not change the situation of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

“It would merely state the obvious, that a united Ireland would continue being a member of the EU,” the EU Council source said.

“The EU does of course not take a stance on the possibility of a united Ireland. Should this question arise, it would be for the peoples of Ireland and Northern Ireland to decide in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement,” the source added.

The other key divorce issues the EU is set to discuss is Britain’s exit bill, estimated by EU sources at €60 billion, and the fate of three million EU citizens living in Britain, plus a million Britons living in the EU.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2017 

Read: On Brussels trip, Kenny says Brexit deal should include provision for united Ireland >

Read: ‘Come in, I missed you’ – Merkel gives Kenny Brexit boost in Berlin meeting >

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Rónán Duffy

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