European Union completes no-deal Brexit preparations

AFP Brussels, Belgium Mar 25, 2019, 04.42 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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"As it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April, the European Commission has today completed its 'no-deal' preparations," the commission, the bloc's executive arm, said in a statement.

The EU announced Monday it has completed its preparations for Britain crashing out of the bloc without a divorce accord, as fears of a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit grow.

"As it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April, the European Commission has today completed its 'no-deal' preparations," the commission, the bloc's executive arm, said in a statement.

The gloomily worded statement came just days after Brussels agreed to postpone Brexit from its previous March 29 deadline.

Unless British lawmakers approve a withdrawal agreement to ease the country out of the bloc, EU rules and agreements built up over 46 years of membership will cease to apply overnight, threatening havoc in almost every domain of life.

The commission outlined measures in 13 key areas, from rules on flying and road transport to travel regulations, fishing rights and banking -- while stressing that they would only reduce the disruption, not prevent it altogether.

"The EU's contingency measures will not -- and cannot -- mitigate the overall impact of a 'no-deal' scenario, nor do they in any way compensate for the lack of preparedness or replicate the full benefits of EU membership," the commission statements said.

"These proposals are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU. They are not 'mini-deals' and have not been negotiated with the UK."

This last sentence is aimed at the numerous Brexit supporters in the British parliament who have sought to argue that the contingency measures would mean a no-deal exit would not be as bad as many fear.

Under no deal, the EU will immediately apply its rules at the border with the UK -- including customs checks, food safety inspections and verification of EU standards -- leading to long delays at busy crossing points such as Channel ports and the Channel Tunnel.

British citizens travelling to the EU will be limited to 90-day stays and would immediately be subject to tighter passport checks -- including possibly being asked to prove the purpose of their visit and that they have enough money to support themselves.