During the past week, European liberals have joined in commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement. The watershed deal, signed in 1998, ended 30 years of violence and conflict in Northern Ireland, known as the Troubles.
The 10 April anniversary was a chance for both the public and politicians to reflect on the work that went into the agreement and following peace, and to commemorate the victims of the conflict.
On the anniversary, Naomi Long, leader of ALDE Party member Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, spoke on the importance of the Good Friday Agreement, while highlighting the need for reforms:
“As we mark the 25th anniversary of this historic agreement, I want to pay tribute to all those who played a role in the Good Friday Agreement.”
“However, the Good Friday Agreement was not perfect. The structures created rigid identity politics, which gives less weight in the Assembly and Executive to those who don’t identify as unionist or nationalist.”
“If we are to move forward into the next 25 years with the optimism and hope offered by the Good Friday Agreement, then reform of the institutions for a new generation is key”, she concluded.
In the Republic of Ireland, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Defence and leader of ALDE Party member Fianna Fáil, commented:
“The ambition for the future has to be to realise both the potential of the Good Friday Agreement and to work out how we share this island in the future in a truly reconciled way and in a way that can give real opportunity to generations yet to be born.”
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) April 10, 2023
As we celebrate what happened, we must pivot to the future.
To realise both the potential of the Agreement, and work out how we share this island in a truly reconciled way. pic.twitter.com/yHIh7cfDxX
ALDE Party member Fianna Fáil hosted an event to honour the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement, including remarks from Bertie Ahern, Fianna Fáil Taoiseach at the time and signatory of the Good Friday Agreement. ALDE Party Co-President and Irish Senator Timmy Dooley also took part in the event.
You can watch Fianna Fáil’s anniversary video in full below or on YouTube.
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.— Fianna Fáil (@fiannafailparty) April 10, 2023
Commemorating the Agreement is about remembering not just one event or one group of people, but the years and the people before and since who have contributed in trying to build a lasting peace on the island. pic.twitter.com/wg42nA0rmU
In the European Parliament, MEPs marked the important anniversary during a plenary session on 29 March. During the ceremony, Barry Andrews MEP of Fianna Fáil said:
"The peace in Northern Ireland is, in my view, one of the European Union’s greatest achievements. It was the EU that provided the financial support through structural funds and the peace programme. It was the EU and its Single Market that made borders less relevant."
Today in the @Europarl_EN, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.@BarryAndrewsMEP: "The peace in Northern Ireland is one of the 🇪🇺's greatest achievements. It was the EU that provided the financial support to structural funds & the peace programme." pic.twitter.com/BsoHLc37nz— Renew Europe (@RenewEurope) March 29, 2023
In his remarks to the plenary, European Council President Charles Michel added:
“Peace in Ireland and in the European Union are staked to the same ideal. Exploiting the richness of diversity, rather than sowing division.”
The Good Friday Agreement — signed 25 years ago — echoes back to our founding Treaty of Rome.— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) March 29, 2023
Both aspired to build up a spirit that unites & draw down borders that divide.
Peace in Ireland & European integration exploit the richness of diversity, rather than sowing division. pic.twitter.com/aMzWwZqG98
Photo credit: Alliance Party of Northern Ireland