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25.03.2019 Europe

No Deal Brexit 'Increasingly Likely' EU Says

By David Roe - RFI
REUTERS/Yves Herman
MAR 25, 2019 EUROPE

The European Union believes that a no-deal Brexit is “increasingly likely”, EU officials said on Monday after the bloc gave Britain two more weeks to solve its political stalemate. The EU, however, appears doubtful that the UK can break the impasse.

In response, the EU it has completed its preparations for Britain crashing out of the bloc without a divorce accord. A statement issued by the EU on Monday reads:

“As it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April, the European Commission has today completed its “no-deal” preparations.

“At the same time, it continues supporting administrations in their own preparations and urges all EU citizens and businesses to continue informing themselves about the consequences of a possible “no-deal” scenario and to complete their no-deal preparedness.”

This follows the European Council conclusions last week calling for work to be continued on preparedness and contingency. While a “no-deal” scenario is not desirable, the EU is prepared for it, the statement adds.

Following a request by Prime Minister Theresa May, the European Council agreed on Thursday, March 21 to extend the UK's departure date to 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons by March 29, 2019 at the latest.

According to the EU, in a “no-deal” scenario, the UK will become a third country without any transitionary arrangements. All EU primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK.

British citizens travelling to the EU will limited to 90-day stays and would immediately be subject to tighter passport checks -- including possibly being asked to prove the purpose of their visit and that they have enough money to support themselves.

There will be no transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.