EU issues stark warning over the consequences of a no-deal Brexit

Justin Tallis/ AFP/ Getty Images
  • A no-deal Brexit will upend rights for millions of citizens, disrupt supply chains and cause “significant delays” at UK borders, the European Commission warns in a preparedness document.
  • The document follows instructions from the European Council last month issued to member states last month to intensify preparations for all outcomes including a no-deal Brexit.
  • The once-unthinkable prospect of a no-deal Brexit has become much more realistic in recent weeks as Theresa May struggles to negotiate with her own government.

LONDON – The European Union has issued a series of stark warnings about the implications of a no-deal Brexit, warning of “significant delays” at borders and telling EU firms to prepare for the worst outcome.

Documents published by the European Commission on Thursday outlined the main consequences of the doomsday scenario in which Theresa May fails to secure a deal with EU negotiators by March next year.

It warned that there would be “no specific arrangement in place” for EU citizens – meaning around 3.7 million EU citizens in the UK and 900,000 UK nationals in the EU would be in legal limbo – that third-country checks would cause “significant delays” in road transport and at ports, and that UK firms would be barred from bidding for lucrative European contracts.

No-deal BrexitEU Commission

The document follows instructions from the European Council issued to member states last month to intensify preparations for all outcomes, including a no-deal Brexit.

The Commission also published a seven-point guide for EU businesses to prepare for Brexit. It warned that a no-deal Brexit would be likely to upend European supply chains, render UK licenses and certificates invalid, and place wide-ranging restrictions on goods moving between the UK and EU.

The once-unthinkable prospect of a no-deal Brexit has become much more realistic in recent weeks.

A series of votes, resignations and fudges on the government’s part indicate a paralysed government whose prime minister will struggle to push a final Brexit deal through parliament if she can even negotiate one.

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