Neither EU Nor U.K. Ready For No-Deal Brexit, Study Finds

July 29, 2019by Joe Mayes
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at West Midlands Police Learning and Development Centre, Birmingham, England, on Friday, July 26, 2019. (Toby Melville/PA Wire/Zuma Press/TNS)

LONDON — Neither the European Union nor Britain is ready for a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31, according to a study of contingency plans by the U.K.’s biggest business lobby group.

“There are no areas of relevance to the economy where the U.K., EU and the business community are all prepared well enough for no deal,” the Confederation of British Industry said in a report published Sunday. “No one is ready.”

The CBI’s study comes as new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to “turbo-charge” preparations for a no-deal departure, which threatens economic disruption such as delays at ports and shortages of essential supplies including medicines. Johnson has promised “all necessary funding” to prepare Britain for the eventuality, along with a public information campaign to help ready the nation.

A lack of readiness is more pronounced on the EU side, according to the CBI study, which looked at 27 areas including movement of goods and people, the Irish border, and free-trade agreements.

The CBI recommended the U.K.’s civil service immediately be put back on a no-deal footing, and for the EU to match some of Britain’s temporary measures to mitigate no-deal shocks.

“No-deal is looking more and more likely,” said Nicole Sykes, head of EU negotiations at the CBI and author of the report. “A lot has been done by both the U.K. and EU, but preparations on all sides can be improved.”

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©2019 Bloomberg News

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