Derry MEP Martina Anderson told Michel Barnier that 'special status' for the North is the only way of ameliorating the potentially 'disastrous impact of Brexit' on Derry and the North West during his visit to the city this morning.
Europe's Chief Brexit negotiator was also told that the DUP do not speak for the people of the North who voted by a majority to remain in the European Union in the Brexit referendum of 2016.
“I welcomed Michel Barnier to Derry this morning and it is important that he had the opportunity to see at first hand the disastrous impact Brexit would have here.
“During his visit Michel Barnier heard the concerns of local stakeholders about the impact of Brexit and the prospect of the imposition of a hard border and the need for the north to secure special status within the EU.
“I also reminded Michel Barnier of the essential need for the north to remain in the Customs Union and I was pleased to hear him recommit to the backstop option already agreed between the EU and British government," said Ms. Anderson.
The local MEP went on to claim that people in Derry were equally concerned over the potential erosion of human and civil rights protections guaranteed by Brussels and Strasbourg.
She said: “I also raised concerns about the need for the rights of people in the north, including our democratic rights, to be protected from Brexit to ensure there is no diminution of rights 50 years on from the start of the Civil Rights campaign.
“I also made it clear to Michel Barnier in our meeting that the DUP do not speak for the people of the north, a majority of whom voted to remain in the EU.
“Throughout this visit Michel Barnier heard the clear message that people do not want a hard border, they want to see the Good Friday Agreement protected in all its parts and that do not want any reduction in our rights.”