The EU has urged businesses to resuscitate no-deal Brexit preparations regardless of how trade talks with the UK end.
Brussels delivered its second stark warning on the state of Brexit talks – but this time it i calling for businesses to prepare for the ‘inevitable change’ that could come out of trade talks.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier echoed the European Commission’s warning that there remained ‘significant divergences’ between Brussels and the UK on a post-Brexit trade deal following ‘informal’ talks in London this week.
Barnier also shared a commission document on Twitter, adding: ‘Regardless of the outcome, there will be inevitable changes on January 1 2021.’
Dubbed Getting Ready for Changes, it told member states that the UK’s divergence from EU rules and refusal to extend the transition period beyond December meant ‘inevitable disruptions will occur’ next year that would ‘risk compounding the pressure that businesses are already under due to the Covid-19 outbreak’.
Highlighting that it was ‘essential that all stakeholders’ start preparing for ‘far-reaching changes’, the communication advised for businesses to ‘consider revisiting their existing preparedness plans’.
The document continued: ‘Although these were drawn up for the risk of the UK’s withdrawal from the union without a withdrawal agreement – a scenario which did not materialise – part of that work will still be very relevant for the changes at the end of the transition period.’
Barnier crossed the Channel this week for a ‘useful discussion’ with the UK’s top Brexit negotiator, David Frost, as the pair attempted to inject some movement into UK-EU trade talks.
But he confirmed there were still issues blocking a deal despite his trip.
He tweeted: ‘This week’s discussions confirm that significant divergences remain between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
‘We will continue working with patience, respect and determination.’