EU Flags Commission by Sebastien Bertrand (CC-BY-2.0)

EU Flags Commission by Sebastien Bertrand (CC-BY-2.0)

The EU Commission has said today that the UK must still pay the so called 'Brexit divorce bill' even if we leave with no deal in place.

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The EU Commission has today issued a communication called: "State of play of preparations of contingency measures for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union."

This document is a stock take of the EU's Brexit preparations ahead of the June EU Council meeting and the current UK exit date of the 31st of October.

And in the accompanying press release, it says:

"In light of the continued uncertainty in the United Kingdom regarding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement – as agreed with the UK government in November 2018 – and the overall domestic political situation, a 'no-deal' scenario on the 1st of November 2019 very much remains a possible, although undesirable, outcome."

It goes on to say that the EU Commission has been preparing for a no deal Brexit scenario since December 2017 and has tabled 19 legislative proposals, 18 of which have passed and the remaining one has been politically agreed.

And it says that, after looking at these and other measures taken:

"The Commission has concluded that there is no need to amend any measures on substance and that they remain fit for purpose. The Commission does not plan any new measures ahead of the new withdrawal date."

The Commission also says that a no deal "…will obviously cause significant disruption for citizens and businesses and would have a serious negative economic impact,….." which it says, will be greater for the UK than for the EU.

In a no deal scenario, the EU Commission says the UK would be expected to do three things prior to the EU engaging in any talks about a future relationship:

One – protect and uphold the rights of citizens who have used their right to free movement before Brexit,

Two – honour the financial obligations the UK has made as a Member State

and

Three – preserve the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement and peace on the island of Ireland, as well as the integrity of the internal market.

The report also says an interesting thing where new border inspection posts are concerned, "….the Commission maintains regular contacts with the most concerned Member States so that, in a no-deal scenario, a landbridge route between Ireland and the rest of the European Union via the United Kingdom can be implemented swiftly, including support from the necessary IT systems."

If I read this right, that says to me that in a no deal Brexit EU lorries will be using UK roads to transport EU only goods directly between the rest of EU and the Republic of Ireland. How does this benefit the UK? What does the UK get out of it, other than more roadworks?

But the big message from the Commission here is probably aimed at the likes of Boris Johnson, who today opened his Tory leadership bid. The message is, that without the so called divorce dosh there will be no deal.

But if I remember rightly, what Boris said was that without clarity over a future deal, there would be no 'divorce' dosh.

Message from the EU, no dosh no deal. Message from Boris, no deal no dosh.

So what comes first, the dosh or the deal?

Let's think about that one for a moment, shall we?

Sources:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2951_en.htm

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/com-2019-276-final_en.pdf

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