German foreign minister blames Brexit for ‘opening old wounds’ ahead of Cleverly showdown
This comes ahead of a meeting between Mr Cleverly, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, and Ms Baerbock in Dulin today.
By Millie Cooke
11:18, Fri, Dec 9, 2022 | UPDATED: 15:04, Fri, Dec 9, 2022
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German Foreign Minister Analena Baerbock has taken aim at Brexit ahead of a showdown with her UK counterpart James Cleverly. She said the UK’s decision to leave the EU put the Irish peace process at risk, saying the EU and UK have a responsibility to “protect and implement” the Northern Ireland Protocol.
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Ms Baebock said: “Brexit was and is a watershed for us all. That applies particularly to the relationship between the United Kingdom and Ireland due to the division of the island of Ireland.
“It was only in 1998 that the Good Friday Agreement brought peace after more than 30 years of violent conflict in Northern Ireland.
“This peace, the fact that hostilities have ceased and both Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland can once again live alongside one another in a spirit of good neighbourliness must not be jeopardised under any circumstances.”
She added: “Yet precisely this is at stake as a result of Brexit and its consequences for trade, freedom of movement and other issues.”
Ms Baerbock said the Protocol prevented “a hard border on the island of Ireland and thus also the reopening of the old wounds”.
She added: “All of us – in the EU member states and in the United Kingdom – have a responsibility to protect and to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
Her comments came after the UK Foreign Secretary suggested that Germany’s position on the protocol might not be as strong as it seems.
Mr Cleverly said Germany’s strong commitment to the Northern Ireland Protocol was “an avatar”, adding: “I think often what people say they want and what people actually want are subtly different”.
Ms Baebock said: ‘Brexit was and is a watershed for us all.’ (Image: Getty)