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EU briefs citizens on consequences of no-deal Brexit

Brussels - With uncertainty over whether Britain will achieve a smooth departure from the European Union in the coming months, the bloc has published information to prepare citizens for the potential consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

Britain has been offered to postpone its departure date until 12 April at the earliest, or May 22 if parliament approves the divorce deal negotiated with Brussels, which would keep EU rules in place for an interim period.

For citizens

"In a 'no-deal' scenario, the UK will become a third country without any transitionary arrangements. All EU primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK from that moment onwards," the commission has wrote.

"This will obviously cause significant disruption for citizens and businesses," it added.

The commission issued a series of pamphlets informing citizens among other things that, in the case of no deal, visitors to Britain would no longer be able to rely on an EU-wide healthcare reciprocity scheme and could face phone roaming charges that have been abolished within the bloc.

Travellers would also be subject to additional customs checks and restrictions when travelling with pets, as well as potential border delays.

However, EU citizens should not require visas for a stays of less than three months.

For businesses

The commission has also provided information to help businesses manage the risks of a no-deal Brexit.

It has warned that the EU would have to apply its rules and tariffs at its borders if Britain crashes out of the bloc, potentially causing "significant" border delays.

The EU's executive has made a series of no-deal contingency plans, mitigating the impact of an unregulated Brexit in areas ranging from fisheries to air, rail and road travel, financial services and student exchanges.

Final sign-off is still outstanding on two issues: visa-free travel for British citizens visiting the EU and obligations under the 2019 EU budget, the commission noted.