How is the EU preparing for no-deal Brexit?

Despite the efforts to negotiate a Brexit deal, in a press release, the European Commission says that it’s “increasingly likely” that the UK will leave the EU without a deal. The Commission has also urged that “EU citizens and businesses” should “complete their Brexit preparedness”

Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been rejected twice by parliament now. An extension has therefore been approved by the EU to delay Brexit until the 22nd May, providing a deal is approved. If not, the UK needs to “indicate a way forward” by the 12th April.

In its press release, the EU Commission said: “While the European Union continues to hope that it will not be the case, this (the extension) means that if the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified by Friday 29 March, a ‘no-deal’ scenario may occur on 12 April.”

“The EU has prepared for this scenario and has remained united throughout its preparations. It is now important that everyone is ready for and aware of the practical consequences a ‘no-deal’ scenario brings.”

What would a no-deal Brexit mean?

With concerns over how a no-Brexit could affect the remaining EU member states, the Commission says that countries need to finalise their preparations for this scenario.

If a deal isn’t made, the UK would “become a third country without any transitionary arrangements” The UK and the EU would move to trading on WTO terms, which, according to the Commission, would  “cause significant disruption for citizens and businesses”.

In addition, British citizens would immediately lose their EU citizenship and would be “subject to additional checks when crossing borders into the European Union”. There is also the question of the rights of UK citizens currently living in the EU, and of EU citizens currently living in the UK.

What preparations has the EU made?

The EU has confirmed that, in the case of a no-deal scenario, it would  “honour its commitments” and  “continue making payments in 2019 to UK beneficiaries for contracts signed and decisions made before March 30, 2019, on condition that the UK honours its obligations under the 2019 budget and that it accepts the necessary audit checks and controls.”

As part of the PEACE programme in Ireland, the EU says it will continue as normal until 2020. It is currently working on its policies for beyond 2020 in order to provide  “cross-border support for peace and reconciliation in the border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland”

All citizens that are living, studying, or working in the EU at the moment would be able to continue as normal after Brexit, and would be entitled to the same entitlements in terms of visas and benefits. This will, however, only be provided if the UK offers the same to EU currently citizens in the UK.

The Commission has planned a range of temporary measures in order to manage the impact of no-deal Brexit on various industries. A number of factsheets have been published to help citizens understand their rights in the future. This covers everything from travel, consumer rights, financial rights, energy, and other topics.

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