David McAllister MEP: Peace on the island of Ireland is a historic achievement
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David McAllister MEP: Peace on the island of Ireland is a historic achievement

The “Troubles” in Northern Ireland were one of the darkest chapters in recent European history. For the longest time, deep historic rifts between unionists and nationalists made any negotiations for lasting peace seemingly impossible. With the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, we are celebrating a historic development that remains essential to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

The true test of political leadership comes, when it takes courage to lead against popular belief. And the peace process on the island of Ireland has known more than one courageous political leader. The Good Friday/Belfast Agreement demonstrates: it is possible to achieve great good in politics!

Ever since 1998, as European Union we have worked alongside our UK and Irish partners to implement the Agreement. It was in exactly this spirit that we conducted the Brexit negotiations, amid the rise of old questions of sovereignty and national identity. Preventing a hard border on the island or Ireland was and is an essential priority for the EU.

Particularly in times of serious geopolitical challenges, stable cooperation with the United Kingdom is crucial. More unites than divides us across the English Channel. With the Windsor Framework, we have found practical solutions to the challenges in the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, while maintaining the integrity of our Single Market.  

The Windsor Framework offers a united way forward. It also honours the historic achievements that we are commemorating here today. Together with our UK partners, let us use this momentum to walk the talk and implement the solutions reached on paper.