Brussels (AFP) - The European Union on Wednesday adopted back-up plans to protect essential air transport and finance in the event that Britain leaves the bloc without a Brexit deal in 100 days.
And the bloc also promised that British citizens living in Europe would continue to enjoy residents' rights "provided that this approach is reciprocated by the UK".
The European Commission said it was acting "to ensure that the necessary contingency measures can enter into application on 30 March 2019 in order to limit the most significant damage caused by a 'no-deal' scenario".
The package covers 14 areas where a "no-deal" Brexit "would create major disruption for citizens and businesses" including in financial services, air transport, customs and climate policy.
Brussels hopes that it will not have to activate its plan if Prime Minister Theresa May persuades a sceptical British parliament to endorse a broad withdrawal deal she struck with European leaders last month.
But the bill's passage is far from certain and on Tuesday Britain announced its own contingency plans to prevent shortages and economic instability in the event it crashes out of the bloc without a deal.
Under the plan, the European Union will allow UK-based financial operators to continue to access European markets for 12 months under a "temporary and conditional equivalence" period to prevent disruption.
Europe will allow British flights to continue to access the "Single European Sky" air traffic control area for 12 month and extend some aviation licences for nine months after March 29.