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Factbox: EU preparations for no-deal Brexit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union officials said on Monday it was increasingly likely Britain would leave the bloc without a divorce deal after April 12 and the EU had completed contingency preparations for such a scenario.

FILE PHOTO: Anti-Brexit banners are seen during a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in London, Britain, January 15, 2019. To match package “BRITAIN-EU/TIMELINE” REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photo

If there is no deal to smooth the transition, Britain would become a third country and EU laws would cease to apply on exit day. Britain’s relations with the EU would be governed by general international public law, they said.

Trade would fall under World Trade Organization rules and the EU would immediately apply WTO rules and tariffs to goods traded with Britain. It would start checks and controls for customs, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, as well as verification of compliance with EU norms.

British entities would no longer be eligible to receive EU grants or to participate in EU procurement procedures under current terms. 

British citizens would no longer be citizens of the European Union and would be subject to additional checks when entering the bloc.

The no-deal contingency measures include:


An EU financial aid program in Northern Ireland meant to support the peace process would continue until the end of 2020, the current EU long-term budget. After 2020, money for the scheme would have to be agreed by all 27 countries remaining in the EU.


The EU could continue making payments in 2019 to British beneficiaries for contracts signed and decisions made before March 30, 2019 if net contributor Britain honors its obligations and accepts audits and controls.


The EU would continue to compensate fishermen and operators from EU members states under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for temporary breaks in fishing. The EU could grant British ships access to EU waters until the end of 2019 if Britain does the same for EU ships in UK waters.


The EU will allow temporary, limited measures to ensure no immediate disruption in the central clearing of derivatives, central depositaries services for EU operators currently using UK operators, and for facilitating novation, for a fixed period of 12 months, of certain over-the-counter derivatives contracts, where a contract is transferred from a UK to an EU27 counterparty.


The EU will ensure basic air connectivity to avoid full interruption of air traffic between the EU and Britain.


The EU will allow British road transport firms basic access to the EU for a “limited period of time” if Britain does the same for EU truck companies and operators.


The EU will ensure the validity of safety authorizations for certain parts of British rail infrastructure for three months to allow long-term solutions in line with EU law to be put in place. This is, in particular, related to the Channel Tunnel and will be conditional on Britain maintaining safety standards identical to EU requirements.


The EU will start ship inspections to ensure legal certainty and secure business continuity in shipping.


The EU will add new maritime links between Ireland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands to the core network and add that as a new funding priority to the EU budget. It will adapt transport infrastructure for security and external border check purposes.


The EU will ensure the smooth functioning and the environmental integrity of the Emissions Trading System.


British and EU students and trainees who started their Erasmus+ program either in Britain or in the EU before Britain’s withdrawal can complete their studies and continue to receive funding.


The EU will honor the entitlement to social security benefits accrued by EU citizens who have been working in Britain before Brexit and British citizens working in the EU.


The EU will not require visas from Britons for travel to the EU if Britain does the same for EU citizens entering the UK.


The EU can help finance the training of EU customs officials and experts for sanitary and phytosanitary controls. 

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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