EU plan B in motion to cushion no-deal Brexit

Updated: Dec 20, 2018, 16:41 IST | Agencies

The EU measures, announced a day after Britain ramped up its own no-deal planning, are intended to alleviate 'major disruption' to people and businesses

With British politics gridlocked and just 100 days until Brexit, the European Union on Wednesday triggered contingency plans designed to cushion some of the shock of a "no-deal" UK exit from the bloc.

The EU measures, announced a day after Britain ramped up its own no-deal planning, are intended to alleviate "major disruption" to people and businesses in sectors including financial services, customs, air transport and climate policy.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters that the plan was "an exercise in limiting damage." He said the aim was "to turn an abrupt exit into a more soft landing."

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but it remains unclear whether lawmakers will approve the divorce agreement Prime Minister Theresa May's government has negotiated with the bloc. Leaving without a deal risks plunging the British economy into recession and touching off chaos at the borders. The 14 EU actions include temporary one- to two-year measures to allow U.K.-EU financial services to continue and a 12-month provision to keep planes flying between Britain and the bloc.

But Dombrovskis stressed that the measures "cannot replicate the benefits of the withdrawal agreement, and certainly it cannot replicate the benefits of EU membership." On Tuesday, the British government stepped up U.K. no-deal preparations, putting 3,500 soldiers on standby and warning thousands of businesses and millions of households to get ready for disruption.

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