Ursula von der Leyen backs Ireland, says EU will "never backtrack" on Brexit deal 1 week ago

Ursula von der Leyen backs Ireland, says EU will "never backtrack" on Brexit deal

"It cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded or dis-applied. This a matter of law, trust and good faith."

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has given her backing to Ireland and said the EU will "never backtrack" on the Brexit deal.

She made the comments during her first state of the union address on Wednesday, which she delivered to MEPs.

The address sets out the European Commission's priorities for the coming year.

Ms von der Leyen spoke of the importance of good relationships with neighbours across the Atlantic and across the Channel but said talks have not progressed as they would have wished.

"That [Withdrawal] agreement took three years to negotiate and we worked relentlessly on it; line by line, word by word," von der Leyen said.

"And together we succeeded. The result guarantees our citizens' rights, financial interests, the integrity of the Single Market – and crucially the Good Friday Agreement.

"The EU and the UK jointly agreed it was the best and only way for ensuring peace on the island of Ireland.

"And we will never backtrack on that. This agreement has been ratified by this House and the House of Commons.

"It cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded or dis-applied. This a matter of law, trust and good faith."

Ms von der Leyen then quoted former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when she said: “Britain does not break Treaties. It would be bad for Britain, bad for relations with the rest of the world, and bad for any future Treaty on trade”.

She added: "This was true then, and it is true today. Trust is the foundation of any strong partnership."