The European Union completed its preparations for a no-deal Brexit as the U.K. seems increasingly likely to crash out of the bloc without a withdrawal agreement on April 12, according to the European Commission.
The EU gave the U.K. until April 12 to decide its course of action if U.K. lawmakers cannot agree to reach an elusive Brexit deal in the week of March 29. If a deal is agreed, Brexit will be postponed until May 22. However, the U.K. is still set to leave the bloc at 11 p.m. on March 29 unless the country's parliament approves an extension.
In case of a no-deal Brexit, the EU said it will make good on its commitments and continue making payments to U.K. beneficiaries in 2019 under its budget for agreements reached before March 30, if the U.K. honors its obligations under the 2019 budget and accepts the necessary audit controls.
As for financial services, temporary and limited measures will be applied to ensure that there is no immediate disruption in the central clearing of derivatives and central depositaries services for EU operators using U.K. operators. The EU will also adopt measures to facilitate the renewal of certain over-the-counter derivatives contracts in which a contract is transferred from a U.K. to an EU counterparty, for a fixed period of 12 months.
The EU also plans to continue the PEACE program on Ireland until the end of 2020 in case of a no-deal Brexit, and proposes to continue to strengthen cross-border support for peace and reconciliation in the region after 2020. The PEACE program aims to support peace, reconciliation and socio-economic progress in Northern Ireland, which is a part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, which is an EU member state.
Meanwhile, the bloc will compensate its fishermen and fishery operators for a temporary halt in fishing activities, and will allow U.K. vessels to access EU waters until the end of 2019 if the U.K. reciprocates. U.K. nationals will be allowed to travel to the EU without a visa if the U.K. reciprocates the same rights to EU nationals.
The bloc will ensure basic air connectivity to avoid full interruption of air traffic between the EU and the U.K., while it will also allow safe basic road connectivity to continue for a limited time period, conditional on the U.K.'s reciprocity. The European Commission also set out guidelines to ensure that its Emissions Trading System runs smoothly, and safeguard the social security entitlements of people who relocated before Brexit in case the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal.