LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):
France’s customs authorities are pushing ahead with preparations for a no-deal Brexit, testing computer systems and cameras that scan the number plates of trucks arriving from Britain.
Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin on Thursday visited the customs transit zone at the French port of Ouistreham, across the English Channel from the British port of Portsmouth.
Customs authorities say the system is designed to streamline operations and avoid the huge lines of trucks that local officials in France have warned could appear in case of a no-deal Brexit.
France has trained 600 new customs officers and built extra parking lots around its ports to hold vehicles that will have to go through extra checks if there is no agreement ahead of Britain’s exit from the EU, currently scheduled for Oct. 31.
The French government is due to hold several other tests in coming weeks to ensure that the additional border measures work.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator says the bloc is still waiting for proposals from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end the impasse over Britain’s departure, which is due at the end of next month.
Michel Barnier told reporters that “we are still ready to examine objectively any concrete and legally operational proposals from the U.K.”
Johnson’s envoy David Frost has been holding talks in Brussels this week but no breakthrough has been made.
Johnson wants the Irish border provision removed from a legally-binding Brexit agreement sealed by his predecessor.
The EU insists the so-called backstop must stay in so that goods can flow smoothly between member country Ireland and Northern Ireland when it leaves along with the rest of the U.K.
The British government is insisting its assessment that there could be food and medicine shortages, gridlock at ports and riots in the streets if there is a no-deal Brexit is a worst-case scenario, not what is likely to happen.
The stark picture of disruption represents the government’s “reasonable worst case scenario” for leaving the European Union on Oct. 31 without a divorce agreement The government was forced to publish the document late Wednesday after lawmakers demanded it.
Opposition politicians say the “Operation Yellowhammer” document — the government’s code name for its Brexit preparations — shows Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reckless to consider leaving the EU without a deal.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Thursday that “we are spending the money on doing lots of things to mitigate those assumptions.”
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