At the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.
Northern Down Independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon (top) asks Michael Lux (above), an EU customs and international trade lawyer, about Northern Ireland’s future land border with the Republic of Ireland post Brexit.
During her questioning, Ms Hermon recalled the UK prime minister Theresa May’s visit to Dublin on Monday and her stating that both the UK and Irish governments want a “seamless, frictionless border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
She also asked Mr Lux if he had ever visited the south Armagh border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. He hadn’t.
Further to this…
Syliva Hermon: “I just understood, from your earlier evidence that you, in fact, referred to ‘officials at the Border, officials at the Border’. The difficulty is: we don’t have officials at the Border. And according to the prime minister [Theresa May], we are not going back to the borders of the past.”
Michael Lux: “Yes, but Ireland has to do so. What you do on your side, okay, that’s up to you. If you feel that you don’t need to control the goods which are entering Northern Ireland and have to recover VAT and customs duties and excise duties, you are, of course, free not to do that. But Ireland is obliged to do this.”
Hermon: “So, how could, how could the prime minister achieve a seamless, frictionless border? Is it achievable?”
Lux: “Well, it depends how you define the term seamless. If you define the term ‘seamless’, that there are no border controls, the answer is no. At least for the side of Ireland because Ireland is obliged to apply the [European] Union law.”
Hermon: “I think what I’m also asking is the fact are, will the UK be required to have checkpoints and checks on goods, commercial goods, people?”
Lux: “If Northern Ireland remains in the customs union, then all these issues don’t arise. If Northern Ireland is no longer part of the EU customs union, then this is an official customs border of the EU and then Ireland is obliged to apply all these rules.”
Watch back in full here
Thanks Brian Sammon