EDITORIAL - Crossing borders

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Our location on the north west periphery of Europe can often lead to a sense of remoteness from the political centres of Brussels and Strasbourg.

That distance is narrowing more and more in recent times, however, as Derry and the north west are increasingly rising up the European agenda.

The fact that 22 MEPs from across Europe are currently in the city on a study visit is proof that we are no mere backwater.

The group are in Ireland to mark the state’s presidency of the European Union and the fact that the MEPs have chosen to cross the border and come to Derry during that trip is also highly significant.

It makes a point about the entire ethos of the European Union and engagement between its members when borders become less relevant.

As a cross-border city, Derry is the ideal location to host such a visit.

Our history of conflict and steps towards community healing in recent years also has its precedents in, and examples for, other parts of Europe.

Aside from the obvious financial benefits from Europe, we can also benefit from shared expertise in moving from conflict to peace and share our own experiences with others.

At a time when some are questioning the benefits of EU membership, largely for narrow political reasons, it is worth remembering that areas like Derry and Donegal, both far away from the seats of their respective domestic governments, have benefited from a closer relationship with Brussels.