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Will no-deal Brexit mean border checks in Ireland? Juncker's answer is simple: Yes

“The British have to tell us exactly the architectural nature of this border,” the European Commission president told Sky News, “I don’t like it, a hard border.”

Image: Sky News

Source: Sky News/YouTube

THE PRESIDENT OF the European Commission has stressed that there will be border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The United Kingdom would be responsible for the logistics of this border, Jean-Claude Juncker told Sky News.

There are still hopes that a deal will be agreed between the UK and the European Union ahead of the 31 October deadline.

Although frustration is growing among EU leaders at the pace of negotiations, Juncker himself said previously that it is still possible within this time frame.

With the clock ticking, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is due to meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the fringes of the UN General Assembly, which gets underway today. It will be the second meeting between the two leaders as both sides try to reach a compromise that would lead to an EU-UK withdrawal deal.

Speaking to the Sophie Ridge on Sunday programme, Juncker answered with a simple ‘yes’ when asked if there would be a border if a deal wasn’t agreed.

“I myself am not an architect of new border stations,” he said.

The British have to tell us exactly the architectural nature of this border. I don’t like it, a hard border.

Juncker said that the Good Friday Agreement must be respected ‘in all its parts’:

The situation in Ireland has improved; we should not play with this. Sometimes I have the impression that some people are forgetting about the history. But history will be back immediately.

“We have to make the sure the interests of the European Union and of the internal market will be preserved. An animal entering Northern Ireland without border control can enter the European Union without any kind of control via the southern part of the Irish island. This cannot happen. We have to preserve the health and safety of our citizens.”

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1′s This Week programme, Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee said that the checks are necessary but must not pose a threat to anyone on both sides of the border.

She said it was “extremely difficult” to predict how the single market and Ireland’s place in it, as well as the Good Friday Agreement, can be protected when no deal is on the table.

The minister said it was positive that the United Kingdom that presented working documents to the European Union on how an alternative to the backstop could function, but she has yet to see them.

“We are willing to look at any proposals that achieves the same objectives as the backstop,” McEntee added.

Boris Johnson is expected to meet with out EU heads of state at the general assembly this week.

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Nicky Ryan

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