Tuesday, 8 January 2019 11:32 WIB |
The chances of Britain crashing out of the European Union by default with no deal in place are growing, as lawmakers appear unlikely to support the deal Prime Minister Theresa May struck with the bloc. A parliamentary vote on the agreement is scheduled next week.
Britain's European Union exit on March 29 is written into British law, and new legislation would be required to cancel it. Delaying Britain's departure would also require unanimous agreement from the 27 other EU member states under the Article 50 process, which is seen unlikely unless Britain planned to hold another referendum.
Governments and businesses in Europe are trying to prepare for the chaos that would follow a "no-deal" Brexit, with supply chains, energy networks and basic cross-border services like banking and insurance facing prolonged uncertainty.
Nearly 100 trucks took part in a drill to test Britain's contingency plans Monday. From a disused airfield commandeered as a truck park, the convoy snaked through 30 kilometers of rush-hour traffic to the port of Dover.
About 10,000 trucks pass through Dover every day, bringing vital supplies from the continent and sending Britain's exports to the European Union and beyond. Planners warn any customs or security delays could cause traffic lines of 50 kilometers.
Dover's Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke said the drill was too little, too late, "I welcome the Department for Transport ramping up Brexit preparations, but this trial is on far too small a scale."
May's hopes of passing her Brexit deal in parliament, designed to ensure a smooth exit, appear slim. She said Monday the vote will go ahead despite widespread cross-party opposition.