With the UK's EU departure date just over 100 days away, the European Commission has ramped up preparations for a no-deal scenario by announcing its intentions to implement its no-deal action plan.
Revealing this move in a communication to the European institutions, including the EU Parliament, Council, Central Bank and European Economic and Social Committee among others, the document was issued today (Wednesday, December 19).
In the communication, the commission referenced its Contingency Action Plan which it launched in mid-November, outlining unilateral contingency measures for damage limitation in the event of the UK crashing out with no deal.
A total of 14 measures are to be adopted by the commission as of today - including applying the Union Customs Code regarding imports and exports.
The document added that the council had endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated in recent weeks, noting that the the Withdrawal Agreement will have to be ratified by the UK, in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
"The ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by both parties continues to be the objective and priority of the commission," the paper added.
"The commission has adopted today all the legislative proposals and delegated acts which it announced in that action plan.
"The commission calls on the European Parliament and on the council to adopt the proposals as a matter of urgency. Member states should accelerate their work to prepare for all scenarios for the United Kingdom’s departure.
The commission also calls on member states to refrain from entering into bilateral agreements, arrangements and discussions with the United Kingdom.
"As was the case for the Withdrawal Agreement, it is essential to continue with a united approach to preparedness and contingency work."
The commission notes that, should the agreement not be ratified, EU citizens living in the UK would no longer be protected by EU laws on free movement. Likewise, UK nationals in the EU would be treated as third country nationals in the EU, which could impact on their rights to stay and work.
However, the communication calls for member states to take a "generous approach" with such citizens, calling on them to take measures to allow them to continue to be considered legal residents, and stand ready to issue residence permits. How EU citizens in the UK are treated will be "closely monitored".
In the event of a no deal, road haulage between the EU and UK will be severely restricted and limited to an international system of limited quotas.
Today, the commission proposed a measure to allow temporarily for nine months, access for UK road haulage operators to carry goods into the EU.
This is subject to the UK conferring equivalent rights as well as ensuring fair competition.
Customs and exports
Without a deal, duties and taxes will be levied on goods moving between the UK and EU.
The communication added that, should no deal be struck, member states must "take all necessary steps" to apply the Union Customs Code and relevant rules on indirect taxation on all imports and exports with the UK, meaning tariffs and checks.
The commission has adopted a delegated regulation to include the seas surround the UK in provisions on time limits where goods have to be declared before entering or leaving the customs union.
The European Commission has put forward a regulation proposal to ensure the continuation of the PEACE IV and United Kingdom-Ireland programmes until the end of 2020.
A commission delegated regulation on the listing of the UK in statistics on the balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment has also been put forward.