Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Dutch government activate 'hard Brexit' plan and blame 'a lack of clarity' from the UK

The Dutch government has linked its decision to activate what it refers to as a "hard Brexit" plan for customs to "divisions within the British Conservative Party" and a "remaining lack of clarity" from the UK.
A letter seen by Sky News, sent last week from the country's finance ministry, sought to explain to Dutch parliamentarians exactly how many extra customs officers would be required to police new trade barriers at Europe's biggest port in Rotterdam, and Dutch airports.

Cabinet finance minister Menno Snel wrote that 930 would be required in the event of a "no deal" Brexit, which is "conceivable" after "difficult" first-phase negotiations.

Perhaps as shocking is that 750 extra customs agents would be required even in the event of a Canada-style free trade deal with a transition period. Fifty have already been paid for.

As the finance ministry calculates it takes between nine and 22 months to train a customs officer, the Dutch government has green-lighted immediate recruiting, training, tendering of contracts and organising of housing.

Mr Snel wrote to Dutch MPs: "The divisions within the British Conservative Party and the remaining lack of clarity about the British input continue to impede the smooth running of the negotiations.

"It is therefore clear that the scenario that the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a withdrawal agreement and without a transitional period is still conceivable.

SKY      News.