The United Kingdom is to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, but a final deal has yet to be agreed between Westminster and Brussels. In the event of a "no-deal Brexit
", the UK leaving the EU single market and customs union without a free trade deal, Britain would have to adopt rules set by the World Trade Organization (WTO). This scenario could mean that airline licenses, medicine certifications and certain citizen rights end overnight along with an increase in bureaucratic checks on goods and people passing in and out of the country. According to estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a hard Brexit would also lead to significant long-term economic damage across the European continent.
The Washington-based fund said the economic output of the EU-27 could be reduced by 1.5 percent of GDP by 2030. Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium, all countries with close trading links to the UK, would be hit hardest. Germany would lose 0.5 percent of its GDP due to industrial supply chains. Nations with financial ties to the City of London
, such as Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg, would also be negatively affected by a "no deal". The IMF estimated, for example, that two-way bank claims between Luxembourg's financial sector
and the UK were about 220 percent of Luxembourg's GDP.