European Commission publishes bloc’s contingency plans for no-deal Brexit

The European Commission president has called on the European trading bloc to prepare for a possible no-deal Brexit on 1 January, hours after a failed attempt to break a deadlock in negotiations.

Ursula von der Leyen, who runs the European Union’s executive body, posted on social network Twitter on 10 December that there was now “no guarantee that if & when an agreement is found it can enter into force on time”.

“We have to be prepared including for not having a deal in place on 1 January. Today we present contingency measures,” she said.

With less than a month remaining until the UK officially transitions into its post-Brexit future on 31 December, there are three main sticking points over which the two sides are disagreeing: fisheries, governance and the so-called level playing field, which would ensure fair competition between the country and the 27-nation bloc.

READ No Brexit breakthrough: EU and UK agree to continue deal talks

The EU’s no-deal contingency measures included proposals to ensure “certain air services between the UK and EU” and “basic connectivity with regard to road freight, and road passenger transport” can continue for six months after a crash-out Brexit,  to allow for safety certificates for products to continue to be used in EU aircraft, to enable and for a year-long “continued reciprocal access by EU and UK vessels to each other’s waters”.

It comes just hours after the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and von der Leyen “had a frank discussion about the significant obstacles which remain in the negotiations” over a three-hour dinner on 9 December, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office, but the dinner ended only with both sides agreeing to “further discussions” in a final effort to secure a Brexit deal.

The two sides agreed that “a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks” by 13 December, the prime minister’s office statement said.

The UK formally left the EU on 31 January. It will officially transition into its post-Brexit regulatory landscape on 31 December, regardless of whether or not a deal is secured. A no-deal Brexit could leave City firms shut out of European markets overnight and unable to serve their EU clients from London.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Lucy McNulty

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