The most powerful man in Europe, Jean-Claude Juncker, today insisted that the border between Derry and Donegal must remain invisible for the sake of peace.
The President of the European Commission explicitly acknowledged the importance of the dismantlement of the frontier to the lives of people living in the North West in his address to Dáil Éireann on Thursday.
“There should be no return of a hard border,” he stated.
“We need common rules to preserve North-South co-operation. Most importantly, this means the Good Friday Agreement should be preserved in its entirety - every line, every letter.
“Twenty years ago, 94 per cent of the people in Ireland and 71 per cent in Northern Ireland endorsed this agreement. They voted overwhelmingly for peace and peace is what it has delivered, built on trust, fairness, equality, the rule of law and democracy.”
The senior Luxembourgish politician who succeeded José Manuel Barroso as the EU’s most important office holder in 2014 displayed a keen awareness of what is at stake.
“Whether one lives in Derry or in Donegal, the Border has been out of sight and out of mind for 20 years and that is how it must stay.hard border does not,” he said.
“That is why we have put forward clear proposals, including a backstop option to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement and ensure there will be no hard border.
"The backstop is bespoke and a workable solution. It has been designed for Northern Ireland and to uphold its constitutional status, but this tailored solution for Northern Ireland cannot fit the whole of the United Kingdom,” he said.