19 December 2017
No post-Brexit certainty until autumn
The European Commission is continuing with "no deal planning" and a senior advisor is urging British businesses to do the same, it is reported.
According to Stefaan De Rynck, a senior adviser to the EU's chief withdrawal negotiator Michel Barnier, the UK will not have any post-Brexit certainty until October 2018 at the earliest, when a withdrawal treaty is ready to be ratified.
Mr De Rynck says while transitional arrangements, a transitional period and an implementation period could yet be in the treaty, it is not a given.
Speaking at a Chatham House event in London, he said: "On businesses and when the certainty comes, it only comes, indeed, when the transition, which is part of the Article 50 deal, will be ratified.
"I know this is very uncomfortable. We meet stakeholders who say well, we have contingency planning, what do we do, and, of course, it's a cost. It is up to the business to see.
"We are in the (European) Commission at least continuing with our no-deal planning."
He stresses that there are still many issues that need to be addressed and the UK will not be allowed to pick and choose in "buffet-style".
The senior advisor is referring to industries that pose tension in the single market negotiations, including the financial services and the pharmaceutical industry.
He says there will be "no cherry-picking, or what one could call a buffet-style transition where one picks and chooses the bits one likes".