EU reveals no-deal Brexit plans

Valdis Dombrovskis

Valdis Dombrovskis

The European Commission says it has started to implement its preparations for a no-deal Brexit – in case the UK crashes out of the EU without a plan.

It has announced temporary measures to try to reduce the impact, but says it cannot counter all the problems it expects.

As Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May’s proposed exit plan flounders in Parliament, both sides are preparing for the worst-case situation.

The UK has allocated £2bn ($2.5bn) in funding to government departments.

The European Commission’s measures are designed to limit disruption in certain key areas, such as finance and transport, if Brexit goes ahead in March without a deal.

“These measures will not – and cannot – mitigate the overall impact of a ‘no-deal’ scenario,” it said in a statement.

“This is an exercise in damage limitation,” added Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis in a news conference, saying a contingency plan was necessary “given the continued uncertainty in the UK”.

The commission’s 14 measures cover legislation that will aim to ensure some continuity.

They address eight sectors, taking in issues such as transport and customs, data protection, animal health and plants, climate policy and key financial products.

The commission has also urged its 27 remaining member states to take a “generous” approach to the residency rights of UK citizens in the EU following a no-deal Brexit, “provided that this approach is reciprocated by the UK”.

The Commission says these measures should not compare with EU membership, or the transition period on offer in the Withdrawal Agreement – which the UK Parliament has yet to vote on.

Brussels says the arrangements will be strictly time-limited, and will be ended without any consultation with the UK.

And it warns that the following will occur from the date of a disorderly UK exit from the EU.

BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler says Brussels will be keen to point out that these proposals are not in the UK’s favour.

They are to protect EU member states from the more catastrophic aspects of Brexit if no deal is reached, the correspondent explains.

Visas will not be required for UK citizens to spend short periods in EU countries, the commission said.

For stays of over 90 days, a residence permit or a long-stay visa will be required.

Member states have been told to take all necessary legislative and administrative measures so that temporary residence documents can be issued by the withdrawal date. -BBC

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