Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has criticised attempts in Dublin and Brussels to include provisions for a future united Ireland in Brexit talks.
Mr Nicholson said:
“As I made clear to EU negotiator Michel Barnier in the European Parliament earlier this month, Dublin does not speak for Northern Ireland - and Brussels does not speak for us either.
“Europe of course has been a friend of Northern Ireland. I am confident that friendship will continue after Brexit, and it is certainly possible that funding streams could remain open for Northern Ireland and border areas.
“However it is disappointing to see that some are using Brexit as an excuse to try to break up the United Kingdom. I have raised these points with UK Government Ministers as well as EU leaders such as Michel Barnier and Guy Verhofstadt.
“Brussels needs to be clear that the Belfast Agreement cannot be cherry-picked. It affirmed the fact that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom as long as the majority of its people wish to remain so. This also means that any ‘special status’ that puts a de facto border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain risks breaching the Agreement.
“Those who claim to respect the Belfast Agreement need to realise that the future of Northern Ireland will be decided only by the people of Northern Ireland, not by those trying to play politics in Dublin and Brussels.”