Diane Dodds MEP Non-attached Member of the European Parliament
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DUP delegation to meet Michel Barnier

DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA will lead a senior party delegation to meet the Chief Negotiator for the European Commission Michel Barnier tomorrow (Tuesday 6 March) at 0930CET. 


Speaking in advance of the meeting Mrs Foster said, 


“The DUP wants to see a sensible Brexit which works for Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom but also for our nearest neighbours too.  

We will not countenance any proposal which would create a new border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.  The economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must be respected and protected.  72% of all goods leaving Belfast port are destined for Great Britain. We trade more with the rest of the United Kingdom than anywhere else - even combined. Placing a border down the Irish Sea would not just be politically unacceptable but would be economically catastrophic.


I was born a short distance from the Fermanagh/Monaghanborder.  My grandparents traded with their neighbours across the border.  It is in no one’s interest to have a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after we exit the European Union. The DUP stands ready to work for sensible solutions to the border question.  A basis already exists to ensure people in Northern Ireland and the Republic can continue to work, move, and trade across the border freely after the UK has left the European Union.  Greater flexibility needs to be shown by those in Brussels on the issue of the border.  


The December agreement needs to be translated fully and not some elements of it dismissed in order to fulfil one particular outcome.  The draft legal text produced last week is not a full and faithful representation.  It is utterly unacceptable for Northern Ireland to be treated separately from the rest of the United Kingdom as set out in the draft EU legal text.  We will never support any such concept and the EU need to realise such concepts will never be accepted and agreed by the UK.” 


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