Juncker: No-deal Brexit would mean Irish border checks

Juncker and Johnson

Brussels will insist on border checks if there is a no-deal Brexit in order to preserve the interests of the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker said.

The European Commission president insisted that Brussels was “in no way responsible” for the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, saying the blame would lay squarely with the UK.

But he said “we can have a deal”, and Boris Johnson’s proposals for dealing with the problems Brexit will create at the border with Ireland were the basis for progress.

Read on...

The Prime Minister has demanded that the backstop – a contingency plan to prevent a hard border by keeping the UK aligned with many of Brussels’ rules – should be scrapped.

Mr Juncker told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We have to make sure that there will be no hard and physical border between the two parts of the Irish island and things have to be done on a level playing field.

“If these three objectives are met by the alternative arrangements, then we don’t need the backstop.

“The backstop was never an instrument having been put in place for whatever will happen. No, it was put in place in order to preserve the rights of the internal market and of the island of Ireland.”

But in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Mr Juncker said there would have to be checks.

He added: “I’m not an architect of new border stations. The British have to tell us exactly the architectural nature of this border.

“I don’t like a border because after the Good Friday Agreement, and this Good Friday Agreement has to be respected in all its parts, the situation in Ireland has improved. We should not play with this.”

He said: “We have to make sure that the interests of the European Union and of the internal market will be preserved.

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

He said the EU “is in no way responsible for any kind of consequences entailed by the Brexit” as “that’s a British decision”.

He suggested that some MPs are “forgetting about the history” of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Mr Juncker’s meeting with Mr Johnson in Luxembourg on September 16 came just hours before the country’s prime minister Xavier Bettel criticised the Tory leader and left an empty podium for him at a press conference.

The European Commission president said: “I don’t know if this is helpful. I rather consider that this was not very helpful but it’s his decision.”

Mr Juncker also criticised former UK prime minister David Cameron over the build-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, claiming he failed to explain the agreement reached with Brussels.

“We agreed the deal back in 2016, I think, between David and ourselves but this deal was never explained to the British public. Never.”

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us