Commission intensifies preparations for no-deal Brexit

Series of seminars planned to help EU countries prepare for difficulties

Protesters at an anti-Brexit demonstration at City Hall in Belfast in October: seminars will cover sectors such as aviation and financial services and key areas like citizens’ rights. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne

Protesters at an anti-Brexit demonstration at City Hall in Belfast in October: seminars will cover sectors such as aviation and financial services and key areas like citizens’ rights. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne

 

The European Commission is intensifying preparations for a no-deal Brexit with high-level briefings for member states next week on the consequences of a chaotic departure of the UK from the EU next March for transport, financial services and other key areas.

While the two sides are continuing to inch towards a deal, senior Government sources in Dublin played down talk of an imminent breakthrough which would allow a November summit.

Dublin believes that with the focus now on a UK-wide backstop under which the entire UK – rather than just the North – remains under EU customs rules, other EU countries will want to see more detail about how such an arrangement would work.

While member states were unconcerned about a Northern Ireland-only backstop because of its limited scope, a special arrangement for the entire UK would be subject to greater scrutiny from member states.

Meanwhile, the series of 12 high-level seminars for member states to promote no-deal readiness will commence on November 20th.

Borders and control

The seminars will be held in private and will cover sectors such as aviation and financial services and key areas such as citizens’ rights. They will also cover the sensitive area of what controls will be needed at borders between the EU and UK for customs and also for food and plant safety.

With the talks at a delicate stage, the commission has decided to hold off on the publication of a series of no-deal papers examining the impact on various sectors.

The Irish Government has held a series of seminars to help companies prepare for Brexit and is understood to have also undertaken detailed planning for a no-deal scenario, which could lead to the sudden imposition of customs bureaucracy and controls on trade with the UK. A whole range of emergency legislative changes and other preparations would be needed, but the Government is not thought likely to unveil its plans unless the talks fail to progress in the weeks ahead.

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