Barnier: There’s no spirit of revenge in Brexit talks
- Credit: PA
There is no 'spirit of revenge' in the Brexit negotiations, the EU's Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has said.
He rejected DUP criticism of his handling of the talks but said only a Northern Ireland-specific solution to the border question will work.
The EU's chief negotiator has visited the frontier three times and was acclaimed as a friend of Ireland by the Irish Government during a conference just a handful of miles south of the dividing line.
He said: 'There is no spirit of revenge.
'I personally regret Brexit for many reasons and I am never aggressive.
You may also want to watch:
'My door is open.'
Northern Ireland and the Republic will share the UK's only land border with an EU state after Brexit and most of the operational details on how it will be handled are yet to be agreed between Britain and Europe.
- 1 Nigel Farage reminded of claim that 'acid test of Brexit' surrounds fishing after clip resurfaces
- 2 Pro-Brexit fishing campaigner says Boris Johnson's deal has left her with 'no fish'
- 3 Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid reject Boris Johnson's coronavirus claim
- 4 Ed Miliband mocks Kwasi Kwarteng's 'road to Damascus conversion'
- 5 SNP MP asks Priti Patel why she has not stood down following UK border comments
- 6 European parliament agrees to add British overseas territories to post-Brexit tax haven blacklist
- 7 Telegraph columnist blames Angela Merkel for Brexit
- 8 Tories abstain on motion to protect post-Brexit workers' rights
- 9 NHS boss admits UK faces Covid vaccine shortage
- 10 Piers Morgan causes hilarity with 'Priti Patel with a brain' jibe
Businesses fear checks on goods and people would disrupt free-flowing cross-border trade, and some critics believe it could even threaten the peace process.
Mr Barnier is holding a two-day visit to both sides of the border and addressed a conference in Dundalk in Co Louth on Monday.
He said: 'Only Northern Ireland-specific solutions will work, only this can address the challenges created by Brexit in full.'
He echoed Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's call for real and meaningful progress by the June meeting of European leaders, but admitted it was an extraordinary and complex talks process.
Mr Barnier asserted there must not be a hard border on the island of Ireland and there was no choice but to protect the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which largely ended violence in Northern Ireland.
If a withdrawal agreement was to be found in October the framework of this agreement must be clear, the senior European representative warned.
Mr Barnier said a European Council meeting of leaders in June was a 'stepping stone' to the final October summit when a Brexit deal must be sealed.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.