As time runs out for achieving an orderly Brexit, the EU is financially preparing for the worst.

In case of a no- deal Brexit, Britain will stop EU payments at the end of March immediately.

It emerged that the EU is already holding back payments to the UK and other EU member states. There is an official request to be very cautious as it comes to new spending.

As part of the rejected Brexit deal, the U.K. is expected to keep on with the EU payments until next Year as the current budget period end.

In the meantime it seems very unlikely that plan B, whatever it will be, is acceptable for neither the Members of Parliament nor the EU.

Staying in the customs union, to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, is unacceptable for most Brexiteers.

Compared with the present situation this will bring little change.

On the other hand, a return of the hard border will incur a substantial risk pushing the UK and Ireland back into civil war.

After Theresa Mays failure earlier this week to get the Brexit agreement through Parliament, the EU budget is now under siege.

To limit the impact of a sudden contribution stop by one of the biggest net-EU contributors, the European Commission stepped on the brakes and asked the staff to be very cautious with new spending.

An EU spokesman said: “Beneficiaries whose projects have already been signed will not be affected — all legal and contractual obligations will be honored. This precautionary measure only concerns new projects.”