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'Better be safe than sorry': European Commission spokeswoman on no-deal preparations

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'Better be safe than sorry': European Commission spokeswoman on no-deal preparations
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REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
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The European Commission will give financial help to European Union businesses, workers, and farmers in the case of a no-deal Brexit, said a document seen by Euronews.

On Tuesday, an alliance of opposition MPs won a vote for a bill that could allow them to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson pursuing a no-deal Brexit.

On Wednesday, the European Commission proposed using the European Solidarity Fund, normally used to help victims of natural disasters in the EU, to soften the financial blow for some EU countries.

The Commission also wants to use the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, created to help EU workers who lose jobs due to globalisation, to be used for those dismissed after a "no-deal" crashing out, the document said.

The executive body also proposed to use all tools and direct financial supports for EU farmers to mitigate the impact of a no-deal on food markets.

At a press briefing, a spokeswoman for the Commission said the EU "now had all the necessary proposals" for a no-deal Brexit, adding "better be safe than sorry."

Other key things set out by the Commission include working with Ireland to find a way to avoid building a physical border on the island and protecting the EU single market under a no-deal scenario as well.

However, it reiterated that the only way to do that was to use the existing solution of the "Irish backstop" in the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU by Britain's previous government, and rejected three times by the British parliament.

Mina Andreeva, the commission spokeswoman, said the backstop is the only solution identified to "safeguard Irish peace accord."

The Commission noted that no-deal would have a serious negative economic impact on both, but it would be worse for Britain.

If Westminster chooses the no-deal option, the EU would only discuss future ties with Britain once it addresses the issue of the rights of EU citizens who arrived in Britain before Brexit, it said. These are now regulated by the withdrawal agreement rejected by British MPs.