Brexit: EU considers using disaster fund for no deal

The European Commission is considering allowing EU countries to apply for cash to cope with a no-deal Brexit using a special emergency fund.

Officials are working on a plan to classify no deal as a “major disaster”, a category normally used to describe destructive natural events such as earthquakes or major floods.

The move would require the approval of EU states and the European Parliament. PM Boris Johnson says the UK must leave with or without a deal by 31 October. In a no-deal scenario, the UK would immediately leave the European Union with no agreement about the “divorce” process.

That would mean leaving the single market and customs union – both designed to facilitate smooth trade – and institutions like the European Court of Justice and Europol, its law enforcement body, overnight.

Opponents of no deal fear it would damage UK and EU economies, lead to significant disruption to travel, and affect supplies of food, medicine and other goods. Proponents, though, argue any disruption would be short term.