EU Brexit chief visits Irish border to hear farmers' concerns

Barnier has made Ireland one of his three priorities in the upcoming Brexit negotiations along with resolving the issue of EU nationals living in Britain and settling the bill to end British membership.

EU Brexit chief visits Irish border to hear farmers' concerns

World Bulletin / News Desk

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday travelled to an Irish region that will be on the European Union's new border once Britain leaves to meet local farmers concerned about the future.

Barnier addressed Irish lawmakers on Thursday, telling them he would work "to avoid a hard border" but stressing that Britain's decision to leave meant there would be "consequences" such as customs checks.

The frontier between the Republic of Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland has been open for years, allowing for a free flow of people and goods and the two economies are deeply interlinked.

The prospect of a return of border posts and customs checks has angered local residents and businesses, as well as raising fears about a destabilising effect on a hard-won peace after three decades of conflict.

Barnier, a former French agriculture minister, was visiting the Lough Egish Food Park, which includes a large dairy, near the town of Castleblayney.

He is expected to meet farmers and business people.

"I want to learn from them and listen to their concerns about how they are affected by Brexit," he said, listing exports to Britain, border checks and political tensions as possible problems ahead.

Britain is by far the main export market for Irish farmers and they have already been affected by a plunge in the value of the pound since last year's Brexit vote which has made their goods more expensive.

Last Mod: 12 Mayıs 2017, 17:25
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