EU sets out no-deal plans

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21 December 2018

With all the publicity surrounding the UK Government’s decision to invest hundreds of millions in preparing for a possible no-deal Brexit, not to mention putting troops on stand-by, it is easy to forget that other people are making their own plans.

Noting that the time until the date set by Prime Minister Theresa May for the UK to leave the Union is now down to 100 days, and that her parliament is still refusing to ratify the deal she has negotiated, the European Commission has started implementing its own “no-deal” Contingency Action Plan.

In a 12-page document available at https://bit.ly/2EBVjJF, it sets out 14 measures in a limited number of areas where a no-deal scenario would create major disruption for citizens and businesses in the EU27.

These areas include financial services, air transport, customs, road haulage and climate policy.

The Commission stresses that what it is suggesting does not replicate the full benefits of EU membership nor the terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The measures are limited to specific areas where it is “absolutely necessary to protect the vital interests of the EU”. They will not prevent a hard landing, the Commission statement said; they should however make it a little less painful.

Subject to the UK conferring equivalent rights to EU air carriers, as well as the UK ensuring conditions of fair competition, a draft regulation envisages the provision of certain air services between the UK and the EU for a period of 12 months.

The validity of certain aviation safety licences would similarly be extended for nine months.

In trade terms, two more draft regulations would add the UK to the list of countries for which a general authorisation to export dual use items is valid throughout the EU and would include the seas surrounding the UK in the provisions on time-limits within which entry summary declarations and pre-departure declarations have to be lodged prior to leaving or entering the Union’s customs territory.

UK hauliers will note that, with similar provisos on reciprocity and fair competition, the Commission is proposing that the EU should allow temporarily, for nine months, access for road haulage operators licenced in the UK to the carriage of goods by road between the territory of the latter and the EU27 Member States.

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