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Open Europe's Pieter Cleppe outlines the arrangements planned by the EU27 to prepare for a possible 'No Deal' Brexit scenario.
30 August 2018
Understandably, a lot of the recent focus in the British media has been on UK preparedness for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit but, just as with a negotiated deal, there are many players determining how this scenario could play out. The EU27 as a whole and individual countries are making their own plans as well.
While the impact of a badly handled ‘No Deal’ Brexit would have a greater proportional effect on the UK, the EU also has much to lose from ‘No Deal’, and certain member states, such as Ireland in particular, could be heavily exposed in a ‘No Deal’ scenario.
Below I set out the range of measures (not exhaustive) that governments and firms across the EU27 are taking to plan for April 2019. It must be said that it is not always clear to what extent these measures are being taken to prepare for a ‘No Deal’ or negotiated Brexit, as many are likely to be required under either scenario.
What is clear is that some member states are far more prepared than others and some appear more flexible than others.
Some EU member states have already spent a lot of capital and energy on planning for ‘No Deal’, others not that much. Even the governments that have taken a lot of measures to prepare for Brexit, such as the Dutch, Belgian and French governments, have been suffering domestic criticism from business groups for not doing enough.
Ireland has done most in terms of preparations so far, but the admission by Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that in any case his government will not manage to put in place all of the 1,000 new customs officials and inspectors by March is indicative of the obvious: it is incredibly hard to prepare for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit and many of the EU27 member states will not be properly prepared for it.
The good news is that this might make the lose-lose ‘No Deal’ scenario less likely.