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10 December, 2018
 
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EU Commission to recommend exempting Britons from visas after Brexit

Brexit deal possible in 24-48 hours, May's deputy says

Source: Reuters

The European Union’s executive is due to propose on Tuesday that Britons be allowed to visit the bloc without visas after Brexit, diplomatic sources and officials in Brussels said.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will update the European Commission on divorce negotiations with Britain, which British Prime Minister Theresa May said were “in the endgame” but remain stuck over the Irish border.

EU diplomats were not holding their hopes high for a breakthrough this week that would allow for a summit of national leaders to rubber-stamp a Brexit deal this month.

While a deal is possible in December, delays raise the risk of the most damaging scenario of Britain leaving the EU next March without agreements in place to mitigate the damage.

Deal or no-deal, the Commission was due to propose exempting the UK from the list of countries whose citizens require visas to travel into the EU, the sources said, on a reciprocity basis.

The Commission will also look on Tuesday at no-deal contingency planning of the remaining 27 EU states. It will also consider updating the EU’s 2030 energy efficiency targets to take account of Britain’s departure.

Britain and the European Union are on the cusp of a Brexit deal which could be clinched in the next 24 to 48 hours, Prime Minister Theresa May’s de facto deputy said on Tuesday.

While officials choreograph the biggest divorce deal in EU history, it remains unclear whether May can get a deal through parliament, where opponents have said she is betraying Brexit by signing up the United Kingdom to EU subjugation.

“We’re not quite there yet,” Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington told BBC radio. “We are almost within touching distance now.”

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