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EU leaders prepare Brexit clause for reunified Ireland membership

By Conor Coyle

Date: Friday 28 Apr 2017

EU leaders prepare Brexit clause for reunified Ireland membership

(ShareCast News) - Northern Ireland could be allowed fast-track access to EU membership in the event of its reunification with the rest of the island, as European leaders prepare to thrash out their negotiating stance for upcoming Brexit talks with the UK government.
The Irish government had pushed for the introduction of a clause stipulating that NI could rejoin the EU post-Brexit if it voted for a united Ireland, much the same as East Germany was incorporated following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A draft of the summit minutes was seen by the Guardian, stating the European Council's belief that "in accordance with international law, the entire territory of such a united Ireland would thus be part of the European Union [in the event of Irish unification]."

The stance would likely face opposition from the Conservative government, which has been unwilling to consider any potential break-up of the Union.

PEOPLE, MONEY AND IRELAND

European Council president Donald Tusk sent a letter to fellow members of the body ahead of the weekend summit, highlighting Ireland as one of the key priorities for the upcoming talks.

"In order to protect the peace and reconciliation process described by the Good Friday Agreement, we should aim to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland," Tusk wrote.

Tusk placed an emphasis on securing clarity on issues relating to citizens' rights and the terms of the UK's exit deal.

The 1998 peace agreement provides for a referendum on a united Ireland if there is sufficient evidence to suggest that there is a majority in favour of it.

Theresa May and her cabinet will also have the issue of Scottish independence in their thoughts ahead of the negotiations, with first minister Nicola Sturgeon having called for a referendum following Britain's departure from the bloc.

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