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Brexit: All-island Implications

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 17th October 2016.

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Photo of Martin McGuinness Martin McGuinness Sinn Féin 2:30 pm, 17th October 2016

The Member knows that I spent last Tuesday at the European Parliament engaged in 14 meetings, including meetings with some of the key negotiators on behalf of the European Parliament when the negotiations begin. I have to say that there was a very hard-line position towards the British Government from almost everybody I met. That does not mean to say that it will be a hard-line position when it comes to triggering article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. All of us who have been through negotiations know how all of this works.

At the moment, the important thing from our perspective is that there is an appreciation among the powers that be in Europe of the fantastic achievements that we have had here through Peace and so forth in which they have made a major contribution. They are stakeholders in our peace process through the massive investments in INTERREG programmes, infrastructural projects, Peace funds and so forth. All that has contributed, along with all the other initiatives, to the transformation that has taken place over the last almost 20 years. People in Europe are under no illusions about the special nature of the problems that we have to deal with.