France is preparing for no deal Brexit. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union, a new border will be created. It will require the expansion of the port infrastructure, as well as the employment of customs officers and veterinary surgeons.
We are preparing for a hypothetical scenario of lack of agreement. In such event, we will prepare customs controls, implement veterinary measures, as well as inspections in ports,” announced Elisabeth Borne, French Minister of the Interior on the CNews television channel.
The need for these preparations was also confirmed by French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe during his last visit to Dunkirk.
Philippe also admitted that if Britain were to leave the EU without an agreement in March next year, it would cause „very serious problems” for France, especially in the trade around the English Channel. Every year, about 700 thousand trucks and over 3 million passengers pass through the port of Dunkirk, on the way to England.
Work on regulations and expansion of the port
In connection with the above, the French government has been working on a law, which will solve a number of problems in the event of no deal Brexit. Prepared regulations concern, among others customs and veterinary controls as well as permits for train drivers carrying vehicles through the Channel Tunnel. To speed up the solutions, besides the law, the French government will also issue regulations and decrees.
The port of Dunkirk is also being prepared for the hard Brexit. Stephane Raison, director of the port, told the France Info radio station that the construction of hangars and a change of the traffic scheme in the port area have already been initiated. The terminal and car parks have also been enlarged. Raison assured that by March the port will be prepared for the exit of Great Britain from the EU.
More customs officers on the border
According to the regional information of France Bleu, 60 customs officers currently working in the port of Dunkirk are not enough to when Britain leaves the EU. At the moment, more customs officers are trained to join forces.
Eric Meunier from the interregional customs office in an interview with France Bleu assured that if all carriers would complete customs declarations, the arrival „will not take longer than at present„. At the same time, Meunier warned that in the absence of such a declaration, „waiting time may be extended when entering France.”
According to Luc Maurer, director of the regional nutrition, agriculture and forestry office (DRAAF), sanitary controls on food and animals can cause problems in the absence of a customs union with Great Britain. In such a scenario, DRAAF would be forced to „greatly increase the controls„.
Brexit summit this coming Sunday
Preparations for the extraordinary EU summit on Brexit, which was scheduled for Sunday, November 25, are currently in progress. The EU-27 leaders will meet to approve the agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the Community and a political declaration on future EU-United Kingdom relations.
Photo: Wikimedia/Raimond Spekking/CC BY-SA 4.0