EU reveals 'damage limitation' measures in case of no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
19th December 2018

The EU has unveiled a set of “damage limitation” measures in case the UK crashes out of the bloc without a Brexit deal.

The UK and EU have ramped up their no-deal Brexit planning
Credit: 
PA Images

Some 14 contingency plans were today published by the European Commission in a bid to ensure goods transportation and financial services will continue unhindered until fresh measures are worked out.

It comes after the UK announced it had allocated £2bn in no-deal funding to government departments, and put more than 3,000 troops on standby to help.

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Meanwhile, Justice Secretary David Gauke hinted that Cabinet ministers could resign if the Government decided to pursue a no-deal Brexit.

If the UK leaves the bloc without a deal many of its existing systems governing trade and transport, among other things, will be lost.

The European Commission laid out a set of temporary measures to reduce any impact over eight sectors, including transport and customs, data protection and climate policy.

For example, it said flights from the UK will still be allowed to fly over and land in the EU for 12 months, while hauliers will be able to take freight onto the continent without a permit for nine months.

It also urged EU member states to take a “generous” approach to the rights of British citizens living in their countries as long as the same approach is “reciprocated by the UK”.

European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told a press conference that the measures were being laid out due to “continued uncertainty” over Brexit in the UK.

He added: “This is an exercise in damage limitation.”

The EU also warned: “These measures will not - and cannot - mitigate the overall impact of a 'no-deal' scenario.”

And it said the measures will be strictly time-limited and will be ended without consulting the UK.

'NOT RESPONSIBLE'

It comes as the Government ramps up its rhetoric about a no-deal departure amid concerns MPs will reject the deal Theresa May struck with Brussels.

Mr Gauke is said to have told Cabinet colleagues during a meeting yesterday that they should not advocate a so-called “managed” no-deal exit.

He is said to have argued that “the responsibility of Cabinet ministers is not to propagate unicorns but to slay them”.

Asked by the Evening Standard today whether colleagues could resign rather than accept a no-deal Brexit, he said: “I think there are many Cabinet ministers who don’t think that that would be a responsible course of action.”