European Union against 'hard border' between Northern Ireland, Republic, says Juncker

Juncker emphasized that the challenges faced by Ireland will not be faced alone and that the Irish would be supported by their European partners, to minimize the impact of Brexit on Irish citizens.

Kenny is expected to stand down as Taoiseach after this year's St. Patrick's day celebrations.

Internal documents uncovered by the Irish Examiner showed officials in Dublin fears that full "red and green channel" customs points may be needed.

Kenny will be back in Brussels for more Brexit-related meetings next week- this time with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani as well as Barnier.

"The Good Friday Agreement has been referred to by [Junker]", the Taoiseach said today.

A veteran European Commission politician, France's Michel Barnier, will be the EU's chief negotiator on Brexit, and he attended the Juncker-Kenny talks on Thursday.


He has been sounding the alarm since the 23 June 2016 Brexit referendum about possible effects on the border and on Ireland's close trade relationships with the United Kingdom, which could take a hit if May also takes the United Kingdom out of the EU customs union and if tariffs are added to goods traded between the EU and the UK.

Last week, Kenny said a hard border would be against Ireland's national interests, and pledged that the government would fight any attempt to recreate one. "We want that language inserted into the negotiated treaty or negotiated outcome, whenever that might occur".

Mr Kenny said any Brexit deal should include language that would allow the North to easily return to the European Union in the event of a united Ireland - as is provided for under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Juncker told a joint news conference: "We don't want to have hard borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic".

"We want that to remain in such a position that the language of what is contained in the Good Friday Agreement will also be contained in the negotiation outcome", said Mr Kenny.

The British government wants to leave the EU's customs union, which could the Irish economy and the important cross border trade.

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