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European Union prepares for ‘no deal’ Brexit

Vidya Ram London | Updated on March 25, 2019

British Prime Minister Theresa May   -  REUTERS

Details plans of what would happen if the UK crashes out of the union on April 12

The EU has published details of its “completed” preparations for a no-deal Brexit, as it warned that that scenario was becoming “increasingly” likely despite the delay to Brexit till April 12.

Last week the EU said it would delay Brexit till May 22 — just before the European Parliamentary elections — if Theresa May’s deal was passed by Parliament this week and would give it till April 12 to come up with alternative options if the deal were not passed.

The announcement was hailed as a way of preventing the UK crashing out without a deal on Friday, but with the government struggling to rally MPs behind the deal for a third time, and increasing pressure on the Prime Minister to step down, from sections of the Conservative Party, the EU outlined details of its plans of what would happen were the UK to crash out of the EU on April 12.

Under the plans, the EU would treat the UK as a “third country without any transitionary arrangements” and would apply World Trade Organisation rules and tariffs at its border with the UK, which would result in UK citizens travelling to the UK no longer being able to go through the EU queue, while goods coming from the UK would be faced with stringent checks, and “significant delays at the border.”

According to a leaflet published on Monday, UK nationals would be subject to entry checks as other non-EU citizens do entering the EU, including on the duration of their stay, the purpose of their visit, and whether or not they have sufficient funds to cover their visit.

Over the past couple of years, the EU has been preparing for a no-deal Brexit, and has published 90 preparedness notices for businesses, among other things, to help businesses across the Union prepare for the major disruption expected to ensue. “The EU has maintained — and will continue to maintain — a fully united position throughout its preparations, and during any possible ‘no deal period’,” the Commission said on Monday.

It followed another tumultuous weekend for the government as Prime Minister Theresa May held a series of meetings including with members of the right-wing European Research Group around the road forward. In a scathing article in the Daily Telegraph, former Foreign Secretary and Brexiteer Boris Johnson accused the government of blinking, and balking and bottling Brexit.

However, his message is being seen by some as the suggestion that he could back the deal were the Prime Minister to agree to resign. “If she really wants her deal to go through Parliament, the PM could still set out convincing proofs of how the next phase of the negotiations — when all key questions are to be settled — will be different to the first,” he wrote.

Meanwhile efforts are underway within Parliament to attempt to gain control of the negotiations and direction of Brexit.

This includes proposals for a so-called “Common Market 2.0” by a group of Labour and Conservative MPs that would bring in a softer Brexit — focusing on the kind of relationship the UK had had with Europe in the 1970s and 80s when it focussed on “clear economic benefits” rather than “an ever closer political union.”

It is not yet clear whether this proposal — which would involve accepting the free movement of workers from other EU countries — would command the support of a majority within Parliament. It is set to be debated by MPs this week.

“Common Market 2.0 can break the Brexit deadlock… there’s clearly no majority in Parliament for no-deal… equally however there is no majority in Parliament for a second referendum and no real chance of Theresa May ever agreeing to one,” wrote Lucy Powell, a Labour MP behind the initiative, on the Labour news site LabourList.

Published on March 25, 2019

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