European Union chief negotiator says Brexit 'will come at cost'

Healy meets EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

Barnier is visiting Ireland in order to gauge the potential impact of Brexit on the UK's closest neighbour, and added that he was hopeful the negotiations will produce an end result both sides will be content with.

He declared: "We have a duty to speak the truth. He understands that the Tory attempt to press for a hard Brexit and a hard border in Ireland will devastate not only border communities but our wider economy".

According to the guidelines, the European Union, throughout the negotiations, will maintain unity and act as one with the aim of reaching a result that is "fair and equitable for all member states and in the interest of its citizens".

The simultaneous visits yesterday of Prince Charles and Michel Barnier, chief EU Brexit negotiator, were in their different ways simply messages of support, assurances that Ireland's preoccupations are understood.

For Brexit, emphatically driven by a cadre of long-standing Eurosceptic English Conservative MPs, is challenging the very survival of the United Kingdom, with Scotland engaged in an unprecedented constitutional confrontation with the London Government, and Dublin perturbed about the implications for Northern Ireland. "We are united and a united Europe will be here for you", he said.

Speaking to both houses of the Irish parliament in Dublin, Barnier said, "Brexit will come at a cost - also to us, the 27" remaining member states.


"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. Only 15 years ago did check-points and controls totally disappear.

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

'The sooner this will happen, the better.

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

Barnier acknowledged that Ireland is in a unique position and said "Ireland's interest will be the Union's interest". He praised the "remarkable preparatory work" the government had done ahead of the talks.

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