Last reviewed 10 December 2020

With the latest deadline for the UK-EU trade talks (13 December) getting perilously close to the end of the transition period, the European Commission has published what it is calling targeted contingency measures to prepare for a possible no-deal.

It said that, while it will continue to do its utmost to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the UK, there is now significant uncertainty whether a deal will be in place on 1 January 2021. The Commission is therefore putting forward measures ensuring basic reciprocal air and road connectivity between the EU and the UK.

The aim of these contingency measures is to cater for the period during which there is no agreement in place. If no agreement enters into application, they will end after a fixed period.

While a no-deal scenario will cause disruptions in many areas, some sectors would be disproportionately affected due to a lack of appropriate fall-back solutions and because in some sectors, stakeholders cannot themselves take mitigating measures, the Commission noted.

It will therefore work closely with the European Parliament and Council with a view to facilitating entry into application on 1 January 2021 of the following four proposed Regulations.

  • Basic air connectivity: A proposal for a Regulation to ensure the provision of certain air services between the UK and the EU for 6 months, provided the UK ensures the same.

  • Aviation safety: A proposal for a Regulation ensuring that various safety certificates for products can continue to be used in EU aircraft without disruption, thereby avoiding the grounding of EU aircraft.

  • Basic road connectivity: A proposal for a Regulation covering basic connectivity with regard to both road freight, and road passenger transport for 6 months, provided the UK assures the same to EU hauliers.

  • Fisheries: A proposal for a Regulation to create the appropriate legal framework until 31 December 2021, or until a fisheries agreement with the UK has been concluded – whichever date is earlier – for continued reciprocal access by EU and UK vessels to each other's waters after 31 December 2020.

See https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/communication-commission-limited-contingency-measures-absence-agreement-future-partnership-united-kingdom for the draft legal texts.