Brexit news latest: No-deal 'could be classed as a natural disaster by European Union'

Matt Drake
A no-deal could be classed as a destructive force, akin to earthquakes and floods

A no-deal Brexit could be classed as a natural disaster akin to flooding and earthquakes by the European Union, it has been reported.

The bloc is said to be considering the move that would release emergency funds to the member states most affected.

EU officials would distribute cash from the bloc's solidarity fund, which was set up in 2002 in response to severe weather that year.

About €500m (£450m) can be accessed every year, as well as unspent cash from the previous year.

It comes after Boris Johnson announced yesterday outside Number 10 that the UK must leave with or without a deal by October 31 - making a no-deal Brexit more likely.

Boris Johnson said the UK will leave on October 31, 'no ifs no buts' (AFP/Getty Images)

In a speech yesterday, in which the prospect of a snap election was also announced, the Prime Minister said: "We are leaving October 31st, no ifs no buts."

The European Commission's proposals were discussed on Monday and could be formalised on Wednesday, according to BBC Brussels reporter Adam Fleming.

Funding applications under the scheme have to be approved by EU states and the European Parliament - but it could take months for a payout.

A leaked report claims the UK could see major disruption after a no-deal (PA)

Details of the proposal emerged as Austria's foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg said the bloc would keep the possibility open to an extension of the UK's membership beyond October 31.

According to the Guardian, Schallenberg said: “Of course our thread of patience doesn’t go on forever. But in the past two years, we have put in a lot of energy to make an orderly exit possible.

"Secondly, a disorderly exit would have many consequences that we can not foresee in its entirety when it comes to financial flows and services.

“The EU’s attitude is reasonable, our doors are open, our hands are stretched out. We are ready to talk to the British, but the British also have to tell us what they want.

"Not the EU, only Boris Johnson knows what it takes to get this treaty through parliament. Just to say the backstop for Northern Ireland has to go is not enough.”

The incoming European Commission will be led by new president Ursula von der Leyen and takes office on the day after the current Brexit deadline, November 1.

A no-deal would mean the UK would immediately leave the EU with no agreement and fall back on World Trade Organisation rules.

Contingencies have been set up by the EU to ensure basic functioning of things such as air travel, road haulage and financial services in the event.

But a leaked no-deal report, seen by Sky News, claims there could be a two-day delay at Dover in the event of a no-deal.

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Rod McKenzie, the managing director of policy at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), said: “The Road Haulage Association has been saying this for quite literally years now that if there is a no-deal Brexit, there will be very substantial queues at the border.

“We have got a very, very serious problem with the UK supply chain if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31 October from where we are now.

“This is a clear and present danger to the supply chain on which we all depend, and we are calling on the government in the clearest terms to make it clear what traders have to do to trade with the continent. This they have failed to do so far.”