September 19, 2018 / 6:02 AM / 8 months ago

Weber tells paper Brexit deal must avoid hard border in Northern Ireland

FILE PHOTO: Manfred Weber, Chairman of the European People Party group (EPP) looks on, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

BERLIN (Reuters) - Any deal on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union must ensure that a hard border in Northern Ireland is avoided, Manfred Weber, leader of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament told a German newspaper on Wednesday.

“This is no normal border, a few years ago we had violence and deaths in Northern Ireland. Any treaty put to the European Parliament must contain a ruling on how a hard border in Northern Ireland is avoided,” Weber told Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

He added that Britain must decide between a close partnership with links to the EU single market coupled with obligations, like the EU’s relationship with Norway, or looser ties involving a trade deal like the one with Canada.

(This version of the story adds dropped letter in third paragraph to read ‘looser’)

Reporting by Caroline Copley and Madeline Chambers

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