Europe

EU doesn't want hard Irish border after Brexit

  • European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny address a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo)

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny address a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, speaks with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo)

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, speaks with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny addresses a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo)

    Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny addresses a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

The head of the European Union's executive commission says he does not want a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and member state Ireland once Britain has broken away from the bloc.

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday that the commission and "the Irish government will work closely together during the whole process of the Brexit negotiations. We do not want to have hard borders."

Once the divorce proceedings are complete, possibly sometimes in 2019, the EU could in theory have a hard border with the U.K. through Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the U.K.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny says that because of the specificities of the British Isles and the Northern Ireland peace accord there was agreement not to go back to a hard border that would restrict travel.