23/03/2017 - EU Make Contingency Plans For No UK Brexit Deal

GBP

European Union officials are calling for the bloc to prepare for the U.K. to walk out of Brexit talks without a deal, according to a private memo and people familiar with the discussions. At a meeting of regional diplomats in Madrid last week, Spanish officials said a breakdown in negotiations was feasible in light of comments made by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier also told a meeting of EU commissioners in Brussels on Wednesday that the bloc should ready itself for talks failing, according to two people familiar with the private discussion. Barnier noted some Conservative politicians in the U.K. are already trying to undermine efforts to find common ground.

In a subsequent speech to the Committee of the Regions, Barnier said the U.K. “must settle the accounts” when it leaves and that it won’t be asked “to pay a single euro for something they have not agreed to as a member.” A likely source of early discord is the bill to cover the U.K.’s liabilities to the bloc which Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has said could run to 60 billion euros.

He warned that a failure to strike a pact would have “serious consequences” including greater uncertainty for U.K. citizens living in the EU, supply problems for companies, air-traffic disruption, tougher custom controls and no more circulating of nuclear material.

This news comes as after an assailant was shot outside the UK parliament by police, loud bangs were heard showing GBP to initially weaken off but reversed shortly afterwards to levels before the incident was reported.

EUR

The Socialist Party said rival candidate Francois Fillon must abandon his campaign to become France’s next president because of the growing list of scandals he’s facing.

“The list of facts against you is long, very long, way too long,” the Socialists wrote on the party web site Wednesday. “The relentless flow of accusations creates such noise that it prevents any calm debate on our country’s future.”

The Republican Fillon, who is already facing criminal charges over his family finances, was hit by two new revelations this week. Prosecutors have asked judges investigating graft allegations against the candidate to widen their inquiries to include charges of fraud, forgery and falsification of records, while Le Canard Enchaine reported Tuesday that Fillon earned 50,000 euros ($54,000) in 2015 arranging for a Lebanese billionaire to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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