July 22, 2019 / 10:32 AM / a month ago

EU executive ready to work with new UK PM: spokeswoman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission is ready to establish working relations with “any new prime minister of the United Kingdom”, a spokeswoman said on Monday as Boris Johnson was expected to take over from Theresa May in London.

The Commission reiterated it was ready to “engage with the member states that would be most affected” by any no-deal Brexit, which Johnson has said he is prepared to go for to ensure Britain leaves on Oct. 31.

The EU executive arm in Brussels is looking at what programs could be used for such emergency support, said the spokeswoman, Natasha Bertaud.

The bloc has said Ireland could count on its generous help, from financial support for the fishing industry to assistance from the EU’s pool of experts on customs and borders.

That contingency planning covers a scenario in which “the UK also fails to pay what is envisaged” under the current EU budget, which Britain is part of, Bertaud told a regular news briefing.

With Johnson, who led the “Leave” campaign in Britain’s 2016 EU referendum, expected to become the next British leader, the bloc is bracing for a no-deal Brexit but also considering another possible delay to Britain’s departure.

Ireland is under pressure again from the other EU states to prepare the sensitive border on the island for checks necessary after Brexit, especially if London crashes out with no agreement in place to manage the fallout.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Catherine Evans

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