Dublin (dpa) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued an urgent appeal Tuesday about the danger of an unregulated agreement on Britain’s exit from the European Union. A “no deal” Brexit would inflict serious damage both to Britain as well as the EU, he said at a conference of ambassadors in Dublin. “We urge our British friends to act responsibly,” he said. The Berlin minister assured the Republic of Ireland of complete solidarity. A crucial issue in the Brexit talks is the virtually transparent border between Ireland and Britain’s Northern Ireland. All sides aim to avert border controls in the future, for fear that otherwise the decades-long bloody conflict in the north could break out again. “A hard border in Ireland is unacceptable,” Maas stressed.
During the Northern Ireland conflict nearly 3,600 people lost their lives and some 50,000 were injured, with half a million regarded as psychologically traumatised by the violence. At the moment there is no need for controls on the passage of goods between Ireland and Britain because both belong to the EU single market and the European Customs Union. But under Brexit, Britain would be pulling out of both bodies.