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13-11-2014

Northern Ireland peace process: MEPs urge all parties to restart stalled talks

The European Parliament called on all parties to join talks to restart the stalled Northern Ireland peace process in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs stressed the need to combat low pay and unemployment, so as to halt violent and criminal efforts to undermine the process. Talks broke down in December 2013 due to disputes over issues such as welfare spending, flags and emblems, and parading.

The text, passed by a show of hands, urges all parties to join talks launched on 16 October to resolve the outstanding issues, so as to underpin the functioning and stability of Northern Ireland’s democratic institutions.

It urges all parties to work for a lasting resolution of the conflict and give full effect to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which deals with Northern Ireland’s system of government within the UK, its relations with the Republic of Ireland, and the republic’s relations with the UK.

MEPs stress the need to improve relations between communities and boost economic and social development so as to consolidate the process. They note that the EU PEACE Programme is providing €150 million to tackle priority issues in Northern Ireland and the border region, to the benefit of all, north and south.

Finally, the resolution welcomes the appointment of US Senator Gary Hart by President Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry as his personal envoy to the talks and stresses that Parliament itself stands ready to offer any support that the parties concerned think would assist the peace process.

Procedure: Commission statement, non-legislative resolution

Adopted text will be available here (click on 13 November)Video recording of the debate in pleanary (click on 12 November)EP Research:The European Union and Northern IrelandMotion for a resolution on the Northern Ireland peace process