Brexit: UK ramps up provision for no-deal 'sledgehammer'

British Prime Minister Theresa May held a 3-hour Cabinet meeting on Thursday before her government issued a further collection of technical notices about the effects of leaving the EU next March without a deal in place.

With only months to go, there was more advice for UK individuals and businesses to prepare for major changes in their dealings with Europe as outsiders.

What the UK government advised

  • UK manufacturers may have their export products retested by EU safety regulators.
  • Organic food exports would be certified by a UK body, recognized and approved by Brussels.
  • Processing times and costs for bank card payments could increase.
  • British drivers may need to take a new driving test and obtain two new international driving licenses before taking to Europe's roads.
  • Roaming charges for UK mobile phone use in Europe could be reimposed.
  • UK passport holders should have at least six months left on their passports before crossing the Channel, or face being refused entry.
  • Seafarer certificates of competency may no longer be valid.
  • Businesses may need to check they can receive personal data about European customers.
  • A delay in imports of sperm for couples seeking to conceive through artificial insemination.
  • The UK may get less warning of falling space debris.

More such advice is expected in the coming weeks.

Stark warning

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said a no-deal Brexit with Brussels was unlkely and a clear model for the UK-EU relationship was the aim: "I don't think we can have fudges," he said during a television interview.

However, Raab admitted a no-deal Brexit will lead to "significant risks and short-term disruption" for the UK.

He also warned the UK could withhold billions of euros in a final payment if there was no deal. The UK would pay "significantly, substantially" less than the 39 billion pounds (€43.7 billion or $51 billion) he said.

Insecure status:

There have been reports of stockpiling of food and medicine by various enterprises and organizations and with only six months to go until Britain leaves the bloc there are many unanswered questions — and not just for those in Britain.

Brits abroad:

The future of British people living in the EU is still extremely unclear. If there is no deal, the status of the UK would be the same as that offered to any country outside the EU — a so-called third country. This would offer UK citizens the possibility of staying for two periods of 90 days each year in an EU-Schengen state, and applying for visas.

Economic damage

Moody's Investor Service said on Thursday that the probability of a "no-deal" had risen and would damage the economy, especially the automotive, aerospace, airline and chemical sectors. The head of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, was reported to have told the Cabinet that house prices would fall 35 percent in three years in the event of a no-deal.

External affairs manager for Europe's biggest port Rotterdam, Mark Dijk warned when the UK leaves the EU and becomes a third country, customs clearance will be required for all EU-UK trade. Additional inspections for food, plants and live animals and other paperwork would also have to be carried out. Dijk warned not enough was being done on either side of the Channel to prepare for the change.

jm/rt (Reuters, AP)

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