EU accused of ‘belligerent bluffing’ over Irish border
A European Commission spokesperson’s suggestion that there would be a hard border in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit was rubbished by the Democratic Unionist Party.
Margaritis Schinas, the Commission’s chief spokesperson, said at the regular press briefing in Brussels: “If you’d like to push me and speculate what might happen in a no-deal scenario in Ireland, I think it’s pretty obvious — you will have a hard border.”
He added that “our commitments to the Good Friday Agreement and everything we have been doing for years with our tools, instruments and programs will have to take inevitably into account this fact. So of course we are for peace. Of course we stand behind the Good Friday Agreement but that is what a no-deal scenario would entail.”
In response, Theresa May’s spokesman said the U.K. would “do everything that we can” to prevent such an outcome.
But the DUP’s Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson, dismissed Schinas’ claim.
“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,” Wilson wrote on Twitter.
In a statement, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said: “Regardless of Brexit, the British government will always have responsibilities as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement to ensure that, even in a no deal, there will not be a return to a border.
“We will not accept a hard border on this island and therefore we are not planning for one.”