June 7, 2019 / 3:10 PM / 2 months ago

EU's Barnier: new UK leader will still face Irish border problem

BRUSSELS, June 7 (Reuters) - Any new British prime minister will still face the problem of what to do with the Irish border after Brexit, the European Union’s negotiator for Britain’s departure from the bloc said on Friday.

Managing the sensitive Irish border and designing an emergency “backstop” solution to prevent the return of a hard border after Brexit has proven the most contentious element of divorce negotiations between London and the EU.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, said on Friday that the problem would not go away after British Prime Minister Theresa May steps down.

“The problem is there, created by Brexit. We have to protect peace. Stability is not a question of goods or customs. It’s a question about people in Ireland, on both sides,” Barnier told a conference in Slovakia.

“In any case, a new prime minister will not change the problem. The problem is there and the new prime minister will have the responsibility with us to solve this problem.” (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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