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EU sets out no-deal Brexit plans to limit travel and fishing chaos next month

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·Finance and policy reporter
·2-min read
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WATCH: Why has fishing become an obstacle in Brexit talks?

The European Union has set out contingency plans to limit Brexit disruption to travel and commercial fishing next month, as trade talks continue to stumble.

In a sign expectations are fading in Brussels of a breakthrough, policymakers are ramping up preparations for the UK crashing out without a deal in a few weeks’ time.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen unveiled “contingency measures” on Thursday, after a dinner the previous night with UK prime minister Boris Johnson failed to break the deadlock.

An EU flag flutters at the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium as the EU sets out no-deal contingency measures. Photo: Francois Lenoir/Reuters
An EU flag flutters at the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium as the EU sets out no-deal contingency measures. Photo: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

“Negotiations are still ongoing but the end of the transition is near. There is 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,” she said on Twitter.

The president shared an EU document on its proposals, which warned of “significant uncertainty” about whether a deal would be reached.

READ MORE: Pound slides after Brussels summit fails to break Brexit deadlock

Britain and the EU will lose countless rights of access to each other’s markets if no trade deal is struck, rupturing decades of increased economic integration.

The new plan would ensure “basic” road and air connectivity continues between the UK and the EU, and that EU and UK vessels can continue to fish in each other’s waters.

WATCH: Sunday becomes latest deadline for Brexit negotiations

The proposals are only likely to take effect if accepted by the UK government and it agrees to take reciprocal measures itself.

The main proposals are for new regulations to:

  • Allow certain air services to continue for six months, and for current aviation safety certificates to continue to be used, “avoiding the grounding of EU aircraft.”

  • Ensure road passenger transport and freight can continue as normal for six months.

  • Allow current UK and EU fishing access and rights in each other’s waters to continue for a year or until the two sides reach a deal on fisheries. The measure is necessary for the “economic livelihoods of many communities,” it said.

The commission noted some disruption was the “natural consequence” of Britain’s decision to leave not just the EU but its single market and customs union, whether or not a trade deal is struck. “The commission has always been very clear about this,” it added.

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