No Deal Brexit will see the return of UK-Irish border, Jean-Claude Juncker warns

22 September 2019, 09:00

Jean-Claude Juncker
Jean-Claude Juncker has categorically said there will be a hard border in the event of a No Deal . Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Jean-Claude Juncker has categorically said there will be a hard border between the UK and Ireland in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

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.

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.

When asked by Sky News' Sophy Ridge if there would be a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, Mr Juncker replied: "Yes."

"I am not an architect of border stations," he said.

"The British have to tell us exactly the architectural nature of this border

He added: "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.

"I don't like this border because the Good Friday Agreement must be respected in all its parts. This situation in Ireland has improves we should not play with this.

"Sometimes I have the impression that sometimes people forget the history of this, some members of the British Parliament

"I am not criticising because it is the mother of Parliaments, event though it is not in session."

"This will not happen. We have to preserve the health and the safety of our citizens."

Jean-Claude Juncker and Boris Johnson met on 16 September
Jean-Claude Juncker and Boris Johnson met on 16 September. Picture: PA

In the extensive interview, Mr Juncker also confirmed that he had received a suggested draft outline for a new deal by Boris Johnson.

However, he received them late on Wednesday and as such has not had time to read them

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."