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November 30 2017 6:54 AM
1. Keep a high focus on the Good Friday Agreement and the need to support a still fragile peace by avoiding a return of the Border. Northern Ireland was the last violent conflict within the EU when faltering peace steps took shape in the mid-1990s.
2. Stress and re-stress the EU’s unique contribution to the Northern Ireland peace. From the moment of the 1994 IRA ceasefire, the EU began special “peace grants” which now total some €25bn.
3. Tell every single member state, again and again until the message sinks in, that “prosperity and trade” underpin peace on the island of Ireland. Even a “high-tech” Border will require some physical control points. These will become potential soft targets to dissident paramilitaries.
4. Continue efforts to build alliances with different groups of member states to protect various Irish trade sectors. Newer and smaller member states are open to alliances with states like Ireland.
5. Keep talk of an “Irish veto” low-key to avoid alienating other member states’ support. But make it clear that the next phase of Brexit talks,dealing with UK trade interests, cannot be triggered until the Irish Border terms are clearly agreed.