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Brussels unveils no-deal Brexit contingency measures for road and air transport

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By Alice Tidey
Lorries queue along the A16 motorway to board ferries to reach England, near Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Dec. 9 2020.
Lorries queue along the A16 motorway to board ferries to reach England, near Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Dec. 9 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Thibault Camus
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Brussels unveiled targeted contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit on Thursday to ensure basic air and road connectivity with the UK for six months following the end of the transition period.

One of the four measures also looks at fishing rights — one of the thorniest issues of the Brexit negotiations where "significant gaps" remain. All of the points are conditional on UK reciprocity.

Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the contingency measures were necessary "given that the end of the transition is very near, there is no guarantee that if when an agreement is found, it can enter into force on time."

"Our responsibility is to be prepared for all eventualities, including not having a deal in place with the UK on 1 January 2021," she added.

These measures were released a day after von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met over dinner in Brussels. After the talks, they underscored, yet again, that "very large gaps remain" in their negotiations and vowed to come to "firm decision" by Sunday, December 13.

What does the EU propose?

Aviation

Brussels says that a regulation should be introduced to allow the "provision of certain air services" between the 27 member states and the UK for a duration of six months, "provided the UK ensures the same."

Another measure would ensure that "various safety certificates for products can continue to be used in EU aircraft without disruption", which would prevent the grounding of EU aircraft.

Road connectivity

The Commission wants to ensure that road freight and road passenger transport remains undisturbed for a duration of six months, which is dependent on the UK providing "the same to EU hauliers".

Fisheries

Brussels is backing the creation of a legal framework that would grant British and European fishing vessels reciprocal access to each other's waters after the end of the transition period and until December 31, 2021, "or until a fisheries agreement with the UK has been concluded — whichever date is earlier".