Goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain after Brexit will be subject to checks and controls, the EU’s chief negotiator said Tuesday, contradicting statements made by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Implementation of this [Northern Ireland] protocol foresees checks and controls for goods entering the island of Ireland,” Michel Barnier told the European Parliament.
“I look forward to a constructive cooperation with U.K. authorities to ensure that all the provisions set out in this agreement are respected and made operational.”
Johnson has insisted such controls would not be introduced under his Brexit deal with Brussels, doubling down on this point during a press conference Monday.
“Be in no doubt. We are the government of the United Kingdom. I cannot see any circumstances whatever in which they will be any need for checks on goods going from Northern Ireland to GB,” Johnson said.
“The only circumstances in which you could imagine the need for checks coming from GB to NI, as I’ve explained before, is if those goods were going on into Ireland and we had not secured, which I hope and I’m confident we will, a zero tariff, zero quota agreement with our friends and partners in the EU.”
The transport of goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain had been one of the most contentious issues hashed out during Brexit negotiations, with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party insisting there should be no divergence in rules between their region and the rest of the U.K.