Michel Barnier has warned about the dangers of temporary measures being too comfortable
Bruno Waterfield, Brussels
March 29 2019, 12:01am, The Times
The European Union will insist that Britain pays a £39 billion bill and implements the Irish backstop before beginning emergency talks to prevent an economic crash after a no-deal Brexit.
European ambassadors met in restricted session yesterday for “full-on war-gaming for a no-deal”, according to one source, to dictate the terms that Britain would have to sign up to in order to open talks if it crashes out of the EU as early as April 12.
The EU’s decision to step up crisis plans is a response to the political chaos in Westminster and growing pessimism about whether the government will be able to ratify the Brexit withdrawal treaty in the next two weeks. “The expectation is that UK will come back quickly after a no-deal Brexit with requests to keep open the vital connections, access to markets and transport links it needs for the British economy to survive,” read a diplomatic note of the meeting. “To avoid unity breaking at that point the EU has to decide what the price will be for Britain to enter those discussions.”
Since last October, the EU has agreed temporary contingency measures, lasting between six and nine months, to keep aircraft flying and ports, rail and road freight links open if Britain crashes out without a deal.
Other measures, lasting 12 months, keep City of London access to European markets for key sectors of the finance industry to prevent the risk of full-blown financial meltdown.