Farm Ireland

Saturday 22 October 2016

Hogan raises vista of 'hard border'

Published 05/10/2016 | 02:30

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters/Francois
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters/Francois

The possibility of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the South was conceded last by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

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In answer to questions from Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, Commissioner Hogan admitted that veterinary checks at border crossing points might have to be considered in the future.

Ms Anderson, who is an MEP for Northern Ireland, asked the commissioner what measures would be introduced to stop the possible importation into the EU through the UK of products banned in the EU, such as hormone-treated beef.

The Commissioner insisted that the UK would face the same controls as any other non-EU country once it had left the Union.

"Imports must meet sanitary requirements which are at least equivalent to those provided for in Union legislation.

"Inspectors carry out documentary, identity and physical checks, including the verification of the labelling and the traceability of the products," Commissioner Hogan said.

He added that member states were constantly monitored to ensure they enforced EU border controls.

Commissioner Hogan's comments will arouse deep concern among farmers and agri-businesses on both sides of the Border.

Should the Border ­become an external EU frontier, it could potentially cause massive disruption for farmers, and agri-­businesses - particularly milk processors and meat factories - in both jurisdictions.

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