EU warns a no-deal Brexit is ‘increasingly likely’ | Politics News
Britain leaving the European Union without a deal next month is an “increasingly likely” prospect, Brussels has warned.
The European Commission said it had completed its preparations for such a scenario, but warned the outcome would still cause “significant disruption for citizens and businesses”.
Britain was due to leave the bloc with or without a deal this Friday, two years on from Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggering negotiations with the EU.
But last week she requested a delay, after two heavy defeats for the deal she negotiated with Brussels.
The EU agreed, granting a two-tier extension.
If Mrs May can get her deal through at the third time of asking this week, exit day will be 22 May – just before the European Parliament elections.
If this does not happen 12 April is the new deadline.
The PM gathered her top team in Downing Street earlier on Monday for a crunch cabinet meeting.
Number 10 is mulling its next steps, which could include giving MPs votes on alternative options.
MPs have tabled amendments seeking to force the government to hold indicative votes, so the government could decide to pre-empt a Commons embarrassment and agree to this ahead of time.
Amid this wrangling in London, the EU has issued a statement on the prospect of no-deal.
Brussels said that if Britain leaves without an agreement in place, it will not benefit from a transition period to new arrangements, but will immediately be subject to checks and tariffs on its exports to the EU.
It said this would be expected to cause “significant delays” at the borders.
The statement added: “The EU’s contingency measures will not – and cannot – mitigate the overall impact of a no-deal scenario, nor do they in any way compensate for the lack of preparedness or replicate the full benefits of EU membership or the favourable terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.
“These proposals are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU. They are not ‘mini-deals’ and have not been negotiated with the UK.
“The EU has maintained – and will continue to maintain – a fully united position throughout its preparations, and during any possible no-deal period.”