On 19 July 2018, the European Commission adopted a Communication outlining the ongoing work on the preparation for all outcomes of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union:
“Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, in whatever scenario it may take place, is a matter for everyone. The withdrawal will change the relationship and will have significant effects for the citizens and businesses of the EU of 27 Member States, some of which cannot be remedied. It is therefore important to take the necessary action in time and that everyone – citizens, businesses, Member States and EU institutions – take the necessary steps to be ready and to minimize the negative impact that the withdrawal will have.” Communication from the Commission
On 13 November 2018 second European Commission’s communication on preparing for the UK's withdrawal from the EU was published. This Communication presents a Contingency Action Plan, proposed by the Commission. In case of no-deal, the Commission identifies 7 policy areas that require specific attention: citizens, financial services, air and road transport, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, personal data and EU climate policy. Contingency measures are urgent unilateral, time-limited EU measures (permits, recognition, etc.), expecting reciprocity from the UK, but not related to the conclusion of bilateral agreements. For example, regarding air transport, the Commission will propose measures to ensure that air carriers from the UK are allowed to fly over the territory of the EU, make technical stops (e.g. refuelling without embarkation/disembarkation of passengers), as well as land in the EU and fly back to the UK. Those measures would be subject to the condition that the UK applies equivalent measures to air carriers from the EU. Regarding road transport, in case of no-deal scenario, as of the withdrawal date, UK hauliers would have market access rights limited to the permits offered under the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT). The Communication is available here.
On 19 December 2018 the third Commission's Communication “Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: Implementing the Commission’s Contingency Action Plan” was published: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/communication-19-december-2018-preparing-withdrawal-united-kingdom-european-union-30-march-2019-implementing-commissions-contingency-action-plan_en. Although the overall objective is to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement in order to have an orderly UK's withdrawal from the EU, but given the continued uncertainty surrounding the ratification process on the side of the UK, preparations for a possible no-deal scenario are necessary and the Commission is putting forward proposals for specific contingency measures. The purpose of these contingency measures is to mitigate the most severe consequences of UK’s withdrawal without an agreement. The proposed contingency measures are unilateral measures at EU level. Although the reciprocity clause is foreseen, the negotiations with the UK concerning these measures do not take place. All measures are short-term (from 9 to 24 months) and can be unilaterally cancelled at any time. The College of the Commission approved 14 measures: 5 regulatory proposals, 8 delegated / implementing acts and 1 Commission Decision. Contingency measures are related to policy areas that require specific attention identified in the second Commission’s communication on preparedness: citizens' rights, financial services, transport, customs and goods exports, climate change policy. The Commission calls on the European Parliament and on the Council to adopt the proposals as a matter of urgency. Member States should also accelerate their work to prepare for all scenarios of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.
Legal aspects and effects of the UK withdrawal from the EU
The EC and EU agencies prepared notices on steps that should be taken from March 30, 2019 onwards, if the transitional period were to start in the absence of the withdrawal agreement. For more information, please read here.
Other negotiation documents, useful information:
Negotiation documents, agenda, and speeches by the EU negotiators are available here.