EU-UK Parliamentary Assembly reminded of need for consensus

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP has reminded the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly that the Belfast Agreement and its successors were based on the support of unionists as well as nationalists.

Mr Donaldson made the comments during a question session with HMG’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic.

Sir Jeffrey said,

“Whilst one speaker after another congratulated each other on the Windsor Framework, there was a failure to recognise that the Windsor Framework fell short of what was promised to unionists.

It was also an opportunity to remind the Partnership Assembly that progress has only ever been made in Northern Ireland when there was an agreement which unionists as well as nationalists could support.

Progress can only be made in Northern Ireland when there is consensus. Trying to foist a solution upon Northern Ireland without the support of unionists will never work. There is no solid basis for an Executive and Assembly until we have arrangements that restore NI’s place in the U.K. internal market and our constitutional arrangements are respected.

I would never have asked the Government or Brussels to build border posts at the RoI / NI border. Of course, that’s where there already is a currency border, health service border, education border and taxation border but I have too much respect for my nationalist neighbours to ask them to start building border posts there.

Sadly, there wasn’t the same level of respect reciprocated towards unionists.

No nationalist with a scintilla of honesty can be surprised that unionists baulked at the idea of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Sadly, some viewed the NI Protocol through their border poll advancing spectacles rather than the 20:20 vision of what is best for peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland.

We want to restore the NI Assembly on a basis that unionists as well as nationalists can support. We need stable and sustainable devolved government. Northern Ireland is a divided society and therefore only a deal which is acceptable to all sides will enable progress.”

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