Border controls in Ireland are inevitable in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the chair of the German parliament's EU affairs committee has said.
Gunther Krichbaum, a CDU MP and chairman of the Bundestag’s committee on European Union affairs, was speaking on BBC Radio Foyle in Derry on Thursday.
He was asked if the EU would insist on customs checks on the Border in the event of a no-deal Brexit in March. “Well, it will take time, but Border controls would be the consequence of a no-deal scenario,” Mr Krichbaum said.
Asked if preparations were already being made by the EU, he said: “Sure. From the European side the preparations are running because we have to take into account that another solution can be found.
"We hope that a solution will be found, and if the time can be used in the next weeks we are very open for this idea, but now it's up to Theresa May to present her plans and her intentions."
Asked if Border checks would be “instructed” by the EU, Mr Krichbaum replied: “These cannot be avoided because it is an outside border of the European Union. It will be the consequence if Great Britain will leave the European Union.”
However, he said that the checks would be done “under the responsibility of the national authorities”.
“Because you know certainly well that the European Union does not have a competence to control the borders. It will be a hard border of the European Union, but this is the consequence if we have not a member state any longer in the European Union.”
Meanwhile, Britain's international trade secretary Liam Fox admitted Britain may not be able to replace any of the EU's trade deals with 40 big economies in time for a no-deal Brexit on March 29th.
Dr Fox's admission came as British prime minister Theresa May met members of her cabinet to report on the talks she held with Conservative backbenchers and MPs from other parties in recent days. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to meet the prime minister until she rules out leaving the EU without a deal.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson faced criticism on Friday when he claimed that he had not said anything about Turkey during the 2016 Brexit referendum.
In fact, Mr Johnson raised the prospect of tens of millions of Turks being allowed to move to Britain a number of times during the campaign despite the fact that Turkish membership of the EU is a distant prospect.