EU completes no-deal Brexit preparations
The EU has finalized its preparations for Britain leaving the bloc without a divorce deal in place, the European Commission announced Monday.
Just last week, Brussels agreed to postpone Brexit as fears of a chaotic "no-deal" scenario continue to grow.
What the EU said
The Commission, the EU's executive branch, announced contingency measures on its website, including:
- Honoring its 2019 commitments to existing UK contracts;
- the continuation of the PEACE program at the Irish border until 2020;
- ensuring basic air and road connectivity between the EU and the UK;
- temporary measures to avoid disruption to financial services;
- continuing visa-free travel to the EU for UK nationals if London also grants visa-free travel for EU citizens;
- advising Erasmus students currently studying in the UK that they can complete their studies.
What does a "no deal" Brexit mean?
The UK will become a third country and the EU's tariffs and border checks will immediately go into effect. British citizens will no longer be EU citizens and will be subject to checks at the border. There will not be a transition period, meaning that there will be considerable disruptions for citizens and businesses. EU laws will no longer apply in the UK and relations will be governed by World Trade Organization rules and international public law.
What are the current Brexit options?
At a summit in Brussels last week, EU leaders offered the UK two different options to push back its exit from the bloc, which was scheduled to take place on March 29. If British lawmakers vote in favor of British Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal with the EU, Brexit can be delayed until May 22 in order to ratify the text.
If Parliament does not approve the deal, the EU offered a shorter extension until April 12. The UK would then have to decide whether it wants to have a longer delay and take part in European Parliament elections — or leave on April 12 with no deal.