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UK to Spend Extra 2.1 Billion Pounds on No-Deal Brexit Planning - Reports

© REUTERS / Hannah MckayAn EU flag flutters during an anti-Brexit demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 28, 2019
An EU flag flutters during an anti-Brexit demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 28, 2019 - Sputnik International
The United Kingdom was supposed to leave the bloc in March but failed to do so because the parliament refused several times to back the withdrawal agreement proposed by former Prime Minister Theresa May. In this regard, Brussels has given London several deadline extensions to come up with a plan, with the latest one set on 31 October.

The Times newspaper reported earlier that the European Commission was drawing up a multibillion-pound aid package for Ireland to offset the economic damage of a no-deal Brexit. The media report did not specify, however, the exact the amount of the aid package.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Thursday that Britain would spend an extra 2.1 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) on no-deal Brexit planning.

Ministers have warned that one of the most hotly contested elements of the divorce agreement - the Irish border backstop - will have to be struck out if there is to be a deal, something the EU has repeatedly said it won't agree to, Reuters reported.

The European Commission's coordinating spokesperson for economic and financial affairs, Annika Breidthardt, said on Wednesday that David Frost, the recently appointed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief negotiator for Brexit, would hold over the next few days meetings with European Commission officials to discuss the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. The meetings are expected to take place in Brussels.

In his first speech as prime minister, Boris Johnson said that his country would leave the European Union by the October deadline. He also added that while London would work to secure a new and "better" deal with Brussels, preparations for a potential no-deal Brexit would be necessary if "Brussels refuses any further to negotiate".

Johnson said in June that the chances for no-deal Brexit were a "million-to-one against".

The Irish border issue has been a stumbling block in the EU-UK Brexit talks. In November, Brussels and London agreed on the Brexit deal, including the so-called backstop that would be put into practice if the sides failed to agree on all the terms of their relationship by the end of the Brexit transition period. The backstop would keep Northern Ireland in the EU Customs Union if London and Brussels failed to reach the deal.

London and Brussels have agreed to settle the backstop controversy until the end of the transition period on 1 July 2020.

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