Angry unionists tell EU leaders to stay away from peace deal events


EU leaders have been told by unionist politicians to stay away from events marking the 25th anniversary of the Northern Ireland peace deal this month.

eading figures in the DUP said Brussels bosses should not travel to Belfast for the commemorations, which will be attended by US president Joe Biden.

Arlene Foster, the former first minister, said Eurocrats should “reflect on the damage” caused to the province by the bloc’s stance on Border checks.

Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s chief whip in Westminster, added it was “best they stay away altogether” given the EU’s “destructive” role in Northern Ireland.

He said inviting them to the events “would be like Ukrainians welcoming Russian politicians to Ukraine’s independence celebrations”.

Mr Biden will fly in to Belfast next Wednesday for a day of events to mark the anniversary during which he is set to meet King Charles as well as hold talks with British prime minister Rishi Sunak.

EU Council president Charles Michel is set to attend the commemoration.

It is understood Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, has also been invited. Ms Foster, who was the North’s first minister during the talks on the Border, said the pair should not turn up unless they are prepared to listen more to unionist concerns.

The non-affiliated peer accused Eurocrats of having “misrepresented” the Good Friday Agreement during the negotiations that led to the creation of the protocol.

“Over the coming days, EU leaders will happily talk about the success of the Belfast Agreement,” she wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“Ursula von der Leyen has already implied not only that her organisation played a crucial role in the Agreement, but suggested they were guardians of it.

“Nothing could be further from the truth.

“If that revisionist attitude is what they intend to bring to the commemorations in Northern Ireland, their time might be better spent taking history lessons in Brussels.”

Mr Wilson said: “The truth is there is nothing to celebrate – the EU has made sure of that. Its unwarranted and unprecedented attempts to annex Northern Ireland has destroyed the Good Friday Agreement and all its institutions and made EU officials and politicians enemies of peace in Northern Ireland.” 

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2023]