In view of a ‘no-deal’, the European Commission in Brussels launches a series of emergency measures to deal with possible unrest

Hundred days after the fateful farewell of the United Kingdom to the European Union, Brussels is taking steps to face the Brexit earthquake. With Theresa May under attack and the British parliament reluctant to endorse the agreement negotiated by the government, the no-deal hypothesis – the “untidy” unregulated exit of Britain from the EU – is becoming more and more realistic.

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On Wednesday the European Commission announced its plan B in case of non-agreement: a series of emergency measures that the EU has already started to implement to safeguard the rights of European citizens and preserve their interests in the sectors more exposed. This is a package that includes 14 directives concerning “a limited number of areas for which the ‘no-deal’ scenario would create serious interruptions in the provision of services to citizens and businesses of the Union”, as reported in the press release of the Commission. These include the financial sector, air transport, customs services and climate policies.

As specified below, the measures in question are “temporary, limited in scope, and adopted unilaterally by the EU”. In other words, the Commission is preparing to act in the exclusive interest of the European Union, committing itself to making the road of the “no-deal” impervious and uphill for London. The emergency directives, in fact, do not replace in any way the lack of agreement between London and Brussels; on the contrary, they would immediately bring the United Kingdom out of the single market and all other agreements regulating the activities of the Union, depriving London of the 21-month transition period agreed during the negotiations.

Clearly, no one hopes that the ‘no-deal’ scenario can materialize to the full. The absence of an agreement would generate institutional chaos, interruption in the provision of even the most essential services, as well as delays, problems with customs, financial, administrative and bureaucratic disorders of all kinds and types.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said that abandoning the EU without a transition period could trigger riots similar to those caused by the oil shock of the 1970s. A disorderly Brexit would be an “absolute catastrophe“, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asserted.

This Theresa May knows it well, and in fact the British government announced Tuesday that Britain will also take emergency measures. Among these, the immediate allocation of more than 2 billion pounds to ensure the preparation necessary to manage any unrest on 30 March 2019, the first day post-Brexit. Furthermore, the deployment of 3500 troops is planned to support the effective implementation of these measures, especially for cross-border issues.

However, English politics are still very turbid. May is politically isolated, despite her leadership at the head of the conservative party being confirmed last week. Parliament still lacks the numbers for the approval of the agreement negotiated with Brussels, which would eliminate once and for all the risks of the ‘no-deal‘.
In the last few days, however, the government has collected the endorsement of the five most important British economic associations, which have pointed out that “all businesses are about to reach a point of no return, and many are implementing contingency plans that constitute a significant loss of time and money “.

The vote in the Westminster lecture – scheduled for last week and then postponed – will be held in mid-January. If until then the Downing Street tenant has not managed to conquer enough deputies, then yes: we fasten our belts.

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