- The EU has produced maps of where it expects checks will have to be carried out between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, despite Boris Johnson repeatedly claiming such checks will not take place.
- The European Commission published a slide-deck showing how the Brexit deal — which this week passed into UK law — will work, and covers arrangements in Northern Ireland.
- The UK is due to leave the EU on January 31.
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The European Union has produced maps which show where new customs checks will take place between Northern Ireland and Great Britain after Brexit, despite Boris Johnson repeatedly insisting no such checks will exist.
The prime minister has insisted there will not be new checks on goods passing between Northern Ireland and the UK after Brexit, despite agreeing to implement these new checks in the Brexit deal he agreed with the EU.
The European Commission on Friday published a slideshow which includes two maps which provide examples of where these customs checks on goods will take place between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in both directions.
The first map depicts goods passing across the Irish Sea from Liverpool to Belfast. It shows that the UK’s customs authorities will be expected to apply EU rules to inbound goods, as per the Withdrawal Agreement, and carry out any checks required. There will also be checks on live animals, animal products, and plants, and importers will be required to fill out declaration forms.
The second map describes goods moving in the opposite direction. Goods being exported from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will be subject to declaration forms while some checks are also likely to be required on arrival in the UK.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that no such checks will be required once the UK leaves the EU next week, despite the Treasury having admitted some will be necessary. When a Northern Irish exporter asked him whether his business would have to complete extra forms after Brexit, the prime minister replied: “Absolutely not.”
He added that if any business was asked to fill in such paperwork, they should telephone Downing Street and Johnson would “direct them to throw that form in the bin.”
The European Commission published the slideshow after it signed off the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which sets out the terms of Britain’s divorce from the EU. The legislation on Friday passed into UK law, paving the way for the UK to leave the EU on January 31.
It will then enter an 11-month transition period where it effectively remains an EU member and tries to negotiate free trade deals.