Expat businesses in Europe under threat from lack of Brexit border policy

Published:  21 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Euro, England
The threat that ports, trains and ferries will grind to a halt after 31 March 2019 is causing fears of business losses amongst UK expats in Europe.

Although the recent talks have given rise to optimism over a soft Brexit, Europe-based expat business owners are fully aware that time is running out with no firm conclusions as regards border controls. Logistics CEOs aren’t happy about a lack of hard plans and the continuance of what seems like just a talking shop. Most importantly, the Irish border crossing is still a sticking point, although minimal progress may now have been made.

In an attempt to clarify the situation for businesses likely to be hard hit should no border solution be found, logistics CEOs have revealed the British government has been consulting with them as to how the issue can be managed without disrupting cross-border trade by jamming all routes from the UK. However, the companies are also claiming they’ve been forced to sign non-disclosure papers to ensure they don’t leak details to the EU’s negotiating team.

Joint customs consultancy committee member Peter MacSweeny told the media he’s no idea what the paranoid secrecy is all about, adding it’s very clear what companies under threat are attempting to guarantee – frictionless borders. He doesn’t see any viable measures on the table as yet, as the other side is concentrating on theory and concepts rather than on exactly what will happen on 1 April 2019.

Apparently, the talks concern data on cargos crossing the UK’s borders rather than plans to keep the borders open for trade. The data is supposedly giving the government a clue as to exactly what the main forms of transport are actually carrying between the UK and EU in an attempt to predict what borders will be like post-Brexit. According to logistics firms involved in the talks, several options including a hard Brexit are still on the table.

As with many other aspects of the negotiations to date, it seems those responsible for Brexit planning have no real idea of the consequences of getting it wrong on the day. In the meantime, expat businesses in Europe dependent on cross-border transportation will just have to wait and see.
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