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EU debates its response to May's Brexit plan in a climate of growing concern

European affairs Ministers and EU negotiator Michel Barnier meet in Brussels

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EU debates its response to May's Brexit plan in a climate of growing concern

European affairs ministers from 27 EU states without United Kingdom meet on Friday in Brussels with Michel Barnier, European negotiator for Brexit, to discuss his response to White Paper presented in London just 10 days ago and proposing a Brexit bl Ando. The text, which went ahead without great support at a time of special political weakness for British Prime Minister, Theresa May, will be studied by community partners with a notice that launched this Thursday European Commission and that begins to set in bosom of European institutions: countries, businesses and Community citizens should envisage possibility that on 29 March 2019, date set for break-up between Brussels and London is not possible to reach an agreement.

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The reality of a non-friendly Brexit is gaining more and more strength within EU. The official document presented by Community executive, first to contemplate a future without a pact, calls for preparation of "for all scenarios". An abrupt rupture would provoke controls on people and property at borders, so transport between United Kingdom and its European neighbours "would suffer a strong impact," Commission's 16-page report notes, "re would be no specific arrangements "To elucidate situation of citizens. Brussels knows that big companies already contemplate all scenarios, but it worries medium and small ones, that can be found with unforeseen situations. In this sense, document encourages all operators to "assess potential impacts of a precipice scenario and make necessary economic decisions."

However, importance of this communication from Brussels lies in political message it sends. "Although we work every day to reach an agreement, it is clear that exit will have repercussions and we must be prepared for all scenarios," said a spokesman for Commission. Although document strives to clarify that thinking of contingency plans "is not a sign of distrust" in process that leads Barnier, presentation of se works before summer break is revealing. The existence of a group within European Commission trying to contemplate all scenarios is not new; For nine months, he has been working in shadow of Barnier team to avoid chaos. But announcement that y will intensify ir work and call for companies to "take responsibility" is a step forward.

This step of EU comes at a time of British confusion regarding its exit from Community club, after political storm that sharpened in government of British Prime Minister with resignation of foreigner, Boris Johnson, and minister for Brexit, David Davis. In a new example of his political weakness, May saved a crucial vote in Parliament on commercial relationship with EU after Brexit after an amendment by two members of his party on Tuesday.

The UK's proposal for divorce with its current partners raises EU as an "association agreement" that would include a "free trade area" for goods, a more lax service relationship, and close cooperation in security matters. The plan, of 100 pages, neverless has important omissions: it avoids to talk about eventual economic contributions in exchange for access to single market that it pursues, and is still very vague, although somewhat more flexible, in matter of free movement of people and of Jurisdiction of EU Court of Justice.

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