By Ayhan Simsek
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday pledged strong support for Ireland’s position of opposing a “hard border” with Northern Ireland, a day after the EU and the U.K. agreed on a Brexit transition deal.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkarsaid in Berlin on Tuesday, Merkel welcomed the agreement on a transition period for Britain’s exit from the EU.
“But of course we know that there are still a lot of problems that should be solved, especially the border question in Northern Ireland, that’s a very sensitive issue which is of significant importance,” Merkel said.
“A solution must be found on that, all participants agree on this, and Germany is in full support of the Irish position here,” she stressed.
Merkel said EU leaders will discuss all these issues during their summit in Brussels on Friday, and added that the discussions would include possible guidelines on future relations between the EU and the U.K.
The German Chancellor praised unity among the EU’s 27 member states on the issues related to the U.K.’s exit from the bloc.
“We agree that this unity should be maintained in the upcoming negotiations,” she stressed.
Ireland’s Prime Minister Varadkarsaid thanked Germany for its support on the border issue.
"I think we are seeing steady progress on the Brexit negotiations, but more needs to be done in the coming weeks and months to close the remaining gaps between the EU and the U.K.," he said.
The U.K. will leave the EU on March 29, 2019, ending its membership to the block after more than 40 years of membership.
British voters opted to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016.