The European Union can’t be blamed for the construction of border posts between Northern Ireland and Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Sunday.
“I’m not an architect of new border stations,” said Juncker in a pre-recorded interview with Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that aired Sunday. “The British have to tell us exactly the architectural nature of this border. I don’t like a border.”
He reiterated that the Good Friday Agreement, which brokered peace on the island after 30 years of violence, had to be “respected in all its parts,” adding that “some members of the British parliament” appear to be “forgetting about history” in Ireland.
He also stressed that Brussels will “make sure that the interests of the EU and of the internal market will be preserved.”
The EU will “not be responsible for any kind of consequences” of a no-deal Brexit, the Commission president said, saying Brexit was a “British decision.”
“The European Union is not leaving the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union … We did not invent the Brexit.”
The Commission president’s comments come several days after he met U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Luxembourg. In an excerpt of the Sky News interview released Thursday, Juncker said the meeting was “positive” and that he “didn’t care” about the backstop if other arrangements could be found.
In the segment released Sunday, Juncker said Johnson told him multiple times he would not request an extension to negotiations past the current date of Britain’s planned exit on October 31.
Juncker also made a point of telling British viewers that he has no “feelings of revenge” toward the U.K. and will “always admire” the country, adding that the Continent “owes a lot to Britain.”
“In my country, this small country, Luxembourg, there is this remaining feeling that Britain did resist more than others, before others and after others, to the Nazi regime that the Germans wanted to impose on the rest of Europe,” he said.
“Luxembourg was invaded, like the Netherlands and like Belgium, on May 10, 1940 and the only ones who immediately took our defense, not only by paying lip service but by doing things which had to be done, were the British.”
“This great nation within Europe will not disappear with Brexit,” he added.