EU's Barnier says wants Brexit talks without 'aggressivity'

EU's Barnier says wants Brexit talks without 'aggressivity'

In addressing both houses of parliament, Mr Barnier was given a privilege normally only afforded to visiting heads of state and prime ministers, joining luminaries like Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton.

Addressing a joint session of the two houses of the Irish parliament, Michel Barnier said a border that divides the island, and Ireland's economic and historical ties with the United Kingdom would be taken into account in the Brexit negotiations, which he will lead when they get under way later this year.

Ireland is anxious that Brexit could prove hugely disruptive to its economy due to its strong trade links with Britain. Ireland's foreign minister has warned that a hard Brexit, and a return to tough border controls, could put peace in Northern Ireland at risk.

"In an important development this week the European Union parliaments negotiator Guy Verhofstadt MEP has said that he believes the European Union needs to look at a special case for the North in the Brexit negotiations".

The goal of the two-day trip is to get a clearer vision of just how Brexit will affect Ireland, and to test the waters about how certain things might go down.

Hear, hear, Barnier might have said.

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The EU has said that Northern Ireland would automatically become a European Union member state if it voted to unite with Ireland. Dublin is seen as a popular choice, with large corporates such as JPMorgan seeking to set up shop there.

"I have no doubt, despite current challenges, that our relationship will continue to endure and prosper", the prince said, alluding as much to the post-Brexit reality, as to any Northern difficulties.

He said he understood the EU's role in strengthening dialogue in Northern Ireland and supporting the 1998 Agreement which largely ended the violence.

Barnier said returning to the "instability of the past" would be avoided and acknowledged that Ireland was in a "unique position" regarding the negotiations.

Later Thursday afternoon, Barnier will meet Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

'The sooner this will happen, the better. He praised the "remarkable preparatory work" the government had done ahead of the talks.

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