04 May 2018
DUP MEP Diane Dodds and Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson this morning met with the EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
In a joint statement the MEPs said:
‘‘This was a useful opportunity to voice concerns within the unionist community about the organisation of Mr Barnier’s visit to our Province earlier this week. We expressed disappointment that his schedule of meetings lacked balance.
If the EU is genuine about showing sensitivity to our unique challenges and opportunities it must avoid being selective in its approach. While visits to Londonderry, Newry and Dungannon were useful, there are businesses and communities in many other areas of Northern Ireland rightly asking why their views were not heard too. Ultimately the best Brexit deal for Northern Ireland will be one that accounts for and addresses the widest range of its views and opinions.
We also restated our continued opposition to the ‘backstop' border proposal as contained in the EU's draft legal text. Any solution that threatens Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom either constitutionally or economically would be unacceptable. Retaining unfettered access for local produce to their primary market in Great Britain is critical for leavers and remainers alike.
We thank Mr Barnier for his constructive engagement this morning. We would urge him to take stock of this week’s events and adopt a fresh and fair approach to these matters as we enter a critical phase for negotiations.’’