The EU has set out contingency measures to allow planes to keep flying, lorries to keep moving and fishing boats to keep working from 1 January, should there be no trade deal with the UK.
With trade negotiations still deadlocked just three weeks before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December, Brussels has warned – even if a trade deal is struck – there is no guarantee it will come into force in time.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Negotiations are still ongoing.
“However, given that the end 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.
“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.”
The EU has outlined proposals for short-term reciprocal measures for air travel, roads and fisheries.
These include new regulations to allow a six-month period to “ensure the provision of certain air services” between the UK and the EU.
The bloc is also proposing another six-month period for road freight and road passenger transport to continue, as well as a year-long legal framework – if needed – for continued reciprocal access by EU and UK fishing vessels to each other’s waters.