The Latest: French businesses get ready for 'no-deal' Brexit

The Latest: French businesses get ready for 'no-deal' Brexit
Flags tied to railings outside parliament are reflected on a wet pavement in London, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, is rejecting the possibility of putting a time limit on the "backstop" option for the Irish border, saying it would defeat the purpose. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

France’s government has held a meeting with about 60 representatives of French businesses to detail a readiness plan as the risk of a no-deal Brexit is increasing.

The plan aims at allowing businesses to identify the consequences and anticipate the costs in the event Britain leaves the European Union without a deal on March 29.

Agnes Pannier-Runacher, deputy minister for economy and finance, said “we are aware that this is a very special situation for companies and especially the smallest ones … the countdown has begun, time is short, they must be ready.”

France’s parliament adopted a law last week allowing emergency measures including things like extra customs officers after Brexit, and a temporary rule allowing Britons employed in France to keep their jobs.


9:30 a.m.

Things are already tough for Victoria Mickleburgh, whose 3-year-old daughter Grace, has Type 1 diabetes and needs insulin every day to stay alive.

Mickleburgh, 38, gave up her job as a management consultant to care for her daughter, who must be monitored constantly to make sure her blood sugar levels are steady.

So for this family, the question of whether insulin and the equipment needed to deliver it will be available if Britain leaves the European Union without a Brexit agreement is more than just a political debate. Unlike produce or machinery, a delay in the supply of drugs from continental Europe could have dire consequences.

“It’s a life or death situation,” she says.


8:50 a.m.

Queen Elizabeth II has urged people to seek “common ground,” in remarks being seen as a veiled reference to the toxic debate surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Though her remarks were similar to her Christmas Day address, the timing of her decision to revisit them Thursday is important.

British lawmakers last week threw out the divorce deal Prime Minister Theresa May had struck with the EU, and attempts to find a replacement have been gridlocked.

In her speech marking the 100th anniversary of the Sandringham Women’s Institute, the monarch urged people to respect other points of view and suggested “coming together to seek out the common ground and never losing sight of the bigger picture.”

The queen remains publicly neutral and does not express her views.