Brussels, 11 April 2023 (TDI): The Belfast Good Friday Agreement, which put an end to 30 years of brutal strife in Northern Ireland, was honoured by MEPs today on its 25th anniversary.
Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament, opened the memorial ceremony by praising the Good Friday pact (GFA) as one that “has instilled harmony between people,” noting that there were few examples of a “peoples’ peace agreement” in history.
The accord has changed people’s life in Ireland, said President Metsola, who also noted that the European Parliament had offered a forum for discourse leading to peace in the years before to 1998.
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The Belfast Good Friday Agreement was praised as a “remarkable achievement” driven by visionary leaders who did not shun compromise by European Council President Charles Michel.
He cited how the tragedy of World War II spurred Europeans to create a unified spirit and to construct borders that do not divide as an example of how it reflected the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The two historical occurrences, he said, are couched in the same goal of maximising diversity’s richness.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the Commission, remarked that “the impossibility came true 25 years ago.” There has been significant progress since the Belfast Agreement, which “opened a new era of cooperation.”
She emphasised that “never again will there be a hard border on the island of Ireland” with a dedication to making the Windsor Agreement successful. Every day, for generations to come, peace and prosperity must be earned. She said, “Peace remains the European promise; the UK may have gone”.
In a round of remarks on behalf of the political parties in the European Parliament, MEPs hailed the GFA as a significant advancement that is still necessary for Northern Ireland’s peace and reconciliation.
They emphasised once more the importance of the Agreement and avoiding the establishment of a hard border on the island of Ireland in negotiations between the EU and the UK following Brexit.
They claimed that the EU was actively involved in the GFA and completely dedicated to keeping its commitments, rather than simply being a spectator. Currently, the EU can contribute to breaking the political deadlock in Northern Ireland.