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Barnier: Irish border problems are resolvable after Brexit

Michel Barnier has said there is always an answer if the will exists to resolve the Irish border question.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator visited the Republic's frontier with Northern Ireland at the end of a two-day visit to the country.

It will become the UK's only land border with an EU state after Brexit.

Mr Barnier had earlier raised the prospect of customs controls but struck a pragmatic note after meeting business owners.

He said: "There is always an answer, there is always a road when there is a will."

Businesses and politicians in the Republic and Northern Ireland want to avoid the restrictions on movement of the past.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has said the UK would adopt technology to cover the transport of goods between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The British Government wants a "frictionless" arrangement to avoid a return to the borders of the past when the area was heavily militarised because of the IRA threat.

On Thursday Mr Barnier warned Brexit would have consequences and said controls were part of EU border management, protecting the single market and food safety.

On Friday he visited a company producing ready made meals for the UK which could be hard-hit by Brexit.

Swift Fine Foods in Co Monaghan exports a quarter of its produce to the UK and uses the land route through Northern Ireland.

Mr Barnier said: "This negotiation once again will be extraordinary and very complex and difficult."

He said it would be financial, legal and technical but firstly human, social and economic.

"I want to listen to meet the people on the ground, to come into the negotiation having the feet on the ground.

"I came to this county of Monaghan to listen, not to give solutions."


From Belfast Telegraph