Brussels has set out a plan to ensure UK-EU flights and fisheries arrangements are not disrupted in the case of a no-deal Brexit on 1 January next year.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen released a statement today to announce a proposal to “ensure the provision of certain air services between the UK and EU for six months”, while also urging the UK government to do the same.
The no-deal contingency plan statement also called for “continued reciprocal access by EU and UK vessels to each other’s waters after 31 December” for 12 months if there is no Brexit trade deal struck before then.
The proposals on fishing in particular will infuriate Brexiteers, after Boris Johnson’s negotiators have said all year that the UK will be a “independent coastal state” next year and will not continue current fisheries arrangements.
Von der Leyen also laid out plans to ensure “basic connectivity with regard to both road freight and road passenger transport for six months”.
“Given that the time of the transition is very near, there is no guarantee that if and when an agreement is found, it can enter into force on time,” von der Leyen said.
“Our responsibility is to be prepared for all eventualities, including not having a deal in place with the UK on 1 January 2021. That is why we are coming forward with these measures today.”
Brexiteer Tory MP David Jones told the Telegraph that the proposals are “effectively blackmail” and “piratical behaviour”.
“I’m pretty sure the response the Prime Minister will give is that this country does not buckle in the face of intimidation,” he said.
Johnson met with von der Leyen in Brussels last night, with the pair agreeing to continue trade negotiations in the coming days.
They have set a new deadline of Sunday to close a deal, with the pair saying “a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks” at this time.
This has been the latest of many Brexit trade negotiations deadlines, the last of which was meant to be Wednesday.