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EU completes no-deal Brexit preparations

Brussels

THE EU announced on Monday it has completed its preparations for Britain crashing out of the bloc without a divorce accord, as fears of a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit grow.

"As it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April, the European Commission has today completed its 'no-deal' preparations," the commission, the bloc's executive arm, said.

The gloomily worded statement, just days after Brussels agreed to postpone Brexit from its previous March 29 deadline, piled fresh pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May as she gathered her Cabinet to discuss the way forward.

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Unless British lawmakers approve a withdrawal agreement to ease the country out of the bloc, EU rules and agreements built up over 46 years of membership will cease to apply overnight, threatening havoc in almost every domain of life.

The commission outlined measures in 13 key areas, from rules on flying and road transport to travel regulations, fishing rights and banking - while stressing that they would only reduce the disruption, not prevent it altogether.

"The EU's contingency measures will not - and cannot - mitigate the overall impact of a 'no-deal' scenario, nor do they in any way compensate for the lack of preparedness or replicate the full benefits of EU membership," the commission statements said.

"These proposals are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU. They are not 'mini-deals' and have not been negotiated with the UK." This last sentence is aimed at the numerous Brexit supporters in the British parliament who have sought to argue that the contingency measures would mean a no-deal exit would not be as bad as many fear. AFP