EU Moves to Keep Channel Tunnel Open If There’s a No-Deal Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union has a plan to keep the Channel Tunnel open even if the U.K. crashes out of the bloc without a Brexit deal.

Rail services -- carrying passengers, cars and freight -- will continue through the tunnel that connects the U.K. to mainland Europe for three months if Britain leaves on March 29 without approving the Brexit divorce agreement, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

There’s a catch though: The U.K. must maintain existing EU safety standards and comply with EU rules such as those that cover train-driver licenses. The measure is “temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU.”

The bloc is keen that its no-deal preparations don’t look like a series of mini-agreements that would soften the blow of leaving without an overarching agreement. The EU has also taken measures to prevent the most catastrophic consequences in areas where it would be hardest hit by a no-deal exit, such as finance and aviation. But it hasn’t done anything to mitigate bottlenecks that could threaten food supplies into Britain.

The Commission said the three-month period for rail services would allow the two sides to come up with longer-term solutions. The proposal still needs to be endorsed by the European Parliament and the EU’s 27 remaining governments.

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