Ireland is treating EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier like 'John F Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and François Mitterrand'

Michel Barnier, the European Chief Negotiator of the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 arrives at the Special European Council (Art. 50) at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium on April 29, 2017. The special European Council (Article 50), in an EU27 format,adopt the guidelines for the Brexit negotiations.Depo Photos/ABACA/ABACA/PA ImagesMichel Barnier, the European Chief Negotiator of the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50.

Ireland is wooing EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, hoping that special treatment for the Frenchman will help secure a good deal for the country in Brexit negotiations.

The Financial Times reports that Barnier will be treated to “the trappings of a visiting head of state” when he visits Dublin on Thursday.

Barnier, who is the chief negotiator for the European Commission, one of the three main EU bodies, will be allowed to address the Irish Parliament, an honour normally reserved for presidents and prime ministers.

The FT quotes Neale Richmond, the government spokesman on EU affairs in the Irish Senate, as saying:

“It’s a reflection of the importance of the role he has. That’s why we are putting him on the same pedestal as John F Kennedy, Nelson Mandela and François Mitterrand.”

Ireland is worried that Brexit could prove hugely disruptive to its economy due to its strong trade links with Britain.

The country’s government is also concerned about what will happen to its border with the UK post-Brexit, which will be Britain’s only land border with the EU. Ireland’s foreign minister has warned that a hard Brexit, and a return to tough border controls, could put peace in Northern Ireland at risk.

Both the UK and EU have signalled that establishing Ireland’s future relationship with Britain is a key priority in negotiations. Theresa May said in January that maintaining a soft border with Ireland was one of her 12 key Brexit priorities.

By wooing Michel Barnier, the hope is that this will help Ireland’s position in Brexit negotiations.

While Ireland is concerned that it could face political and economic upheaval from Brexit, Dublin may well see an economic boost. Financial and professional services firms in the UK are currently putting in place contingency plans for Brexit, many of which include moving staff and operations to EU cities. Dublin is seen as a popular choice, with large corporates such as JPMorgan seeking to set up shop there.

More from Oscar Williams-Grut:

NOW WATCH: ‘OJ had me shook’: A Georgetown professor reveals what it was like to talk to OJ Simpson after bashing him on national television

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.