UK prepares emergency measures for euro collapse to prevent an influx of people and money
By Jason Groves
Last updated at 8:28 AM on 28th December 2011
Ministers are considering draconian plans to prevent a flood of money and people heading to Britain from Europe if the ailing single currency collapses.
Experts fear that the collapse of the euro would lead to the widespread movement of both people and money – with potentially damaging consequences for Britain if left unchecked.
The Treasury has drawn up contingency plans to prevent investors shifting huge sums of cash from the Eurozone to Britain – amid fears it could lead to a surge in the value of the Pound.
And it emerged yesterday that Britain’s borders could also be temporarily sealed against economic refugees from Europe if the collapse of the euro sparks widespread civil unrest on the Continent.
The Foreign Office is also working on contingency plans for the emergency evacuation of thousands of British expats and holidaymakers from stricken countries.
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Elsewhere in Whitehall there are fears that a collapse of the euro could lead to widespread civil unrest – and even spark a flood of economic refugees.
Some countries are expected to ground all flights and effectively seal their borders to prevent the flight of people and money. British officials are said to be considering contingency plans to seal the UK’s borders in a worst-case scenario – although any attempt to prevent the free movement of people is illegal under EU law.
The Ministry of Defence has also been put on standby to help rescue British nationals stranded in countries that are plunged into chaos.
Other EU countries are also drawing up contingency plans.
Earlier this month reports in Portugal said the country’s borders would be temporarily sealed if the country drops out of the single currency.
Strict limits would be imposed on cash withdrawals and euro notes would be stamped with an escudo mark until the new currency was printed and distributed.