The European Union have dramatically reversed their position on Ireland, after Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed to Sky News on Sunday that a hard border would return in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The European Commission president said that MPs were “forgetting about the history” and made it clear that the EU would not be responsible for the consequences of Brexit.
In a reversal of the European Union’s longstanding position that under no circumstances would a hard border be imposed on the island of Ireland, today’s comments by Juncker will increase pressure on Dublin as it has categorically refused to impose any kind of border.
Boris Johnson like his predecessor Theresa May has repeatedly said that the UK would not impose such a border in a no-deal Brexit scenario, which is also the Republic’s official position and that of the DUP.
It is unclear how the European Union would force Britain in a no-deal scenario to implement physical border infrastructure or whether the Republic of Ireland would be required to set up border checks, which would be seen as a clear breach of the Good Friday Agreement.
Speaking with Sophy Ridge, Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU had been prepared for a no-deal Brexit for more than a year and confirmed without hesitation there would be a border implying the British “have to tell us the architectural nature of this border” while respecting the Good Friday Agreement. “History will be back immediately,” said the European Commission President.
Jean-Claude Juncker says there would be a border between Northern Ireland and Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit and says he believes "some members of the British Parliament" are "forgetting about history" in Ireland #Ridge pic.twitter.com/SYwYCbwJrB
— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) September 22, 2019
Earlier this week, leaked documents on Britain’s new proposals for avoiding a backstop were dismissed by the EU, while the UK rejected the deadline to provide details by the Finnish Prime Minister, saying that proposals would be presented “when we are ready” in a strong rebuke to the ‘artificial deadline’ put forward by some EU member states. The UK also confirmed that it had already shared a number of technical documents to Brussels and that talks were ongoing.