November 15, 2022
Chris MacManus MEP hosts launch of ‘Making the Case for Irish Unity in the EU’ report by Colin Harvey and Mark Bassett

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus today hosted the launch of the academic research paper, Making the Case for Irish Unity in the EU, co-authored by Professor Colin Harvey and Mr Mark Bassett Barrister-at-Law, at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The independent report, commissioned by The Left in the European Parliament, explores the legal mechanisms, as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement and recognised under international law, for the island of Ireland to be reunited within the EU.

The report further outlines the steps that the EU can take in order to provide for such an eventuality.

Chris McManus MEP said:

“The EU needs to take an active role in preparing for constitutional change on the island of Ireland. There is no legal impediment preventing the EU from doing so.

“Across Europe, people are engaging in this conversation whether it is diplomats, parliamentarians, or the general public. 

“But to date, the EU has taken a back seat. We have seen through the long-lasting repercussions of Brexit how disastrous it can be when people vote on a referendum without the necessary planning put in place beforehand.

“In their research paper, Colin Harvey and Mark Bassett set out the legal mechanisms of the Good Friday Agreement and international law, and seek to provide a platform for the European institutions to engage in this debate.

“Ultimately, the constitutional future of Ireland will be decided by the people of Ireland. But Colin Harvey and Mark Bassett hold the view, and it is one that I share, that the European Union can do so much more to prepare for it, and I hope that this report will encourage that necessary future dialogue.”

Former MEP Martina Anderson, now Sinn Féin’s Representative to Europe, said: 

“The EU was rightly critical of the British government for not planning and preparing properly for leaving the EU. But that is a potential criticism that the EU could face if it does not properly plan and prepare for Irish Unity, because Irish Unity will impact the EU and its institutions.

“This report speaks to the EU. It speaks to the Commission. It speaks to the European Parliament.

“The people of the North never voted to leave the EU. They had their representation in the European Parliament stripped away from them against their will.

“But we have a peaceful and democratic pathway back into the EU for those people, and that is why it is important for the EU to plan and prepare for the constitutional change on the island of Ireland that I, and so many more, believe is coming.”

  • The report can be read here.
  • Professor Colin Harvey and Mark Bassett Barrister-at-Law’s statement can be read here.

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