The European Commission’s chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas has said today it is “pretty obvious” Northern Ireland will have a “hard border” with its southern neighbour if the UK leaves the European Union with no deal. The remark reflected the EU’s position that Ireland, like other member states, would have to enforce EU customs and other checks on imports from Britain after Brexit in the event of no deal.
Schinas said: “If you were to push me to speculate on what might happen in a no-deal scenario in Ireland, I think it is pretty obvious you will have a hard border”.
The EU’s commitment to the Good Friday Agreement “will have to take inevitably into account this fact”, he added, while insisting the EU would stand behind the peace accords.
“Of course we stand behind the Good Friday agreement but that is what a no-deal scenario would entail.”
He also echoed the complaints of many in the House of Commons about Theresa May’s statement on Monday by claiming that “at this stage we have nothing new to say from Brussels because there is nothing new from London.
“We continue to follow very closely the ongoing parliamentary debate in the UK. We urge the UK to clarify its intentions as soon as possible,” the spokesman said.
The Democratic Unionist party’s Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson MP, tweeted in response: “More belligerent bluffing from the EU in a desperate attempt to up the ante. It didn’t work before and it won’t work now.”
“Ignore the bluffing, there won’t be a hard border.”