France's PM and ministers in Calais
21 January 2019

No-deal Brexit: France will be ready

On 18 January 2019, the Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, travelled to Pas-de-Calais as part of the contingency planning should the UK end up leaving the EU with no deal. A visit which confirmed that France will be ready to cope in the event of a "hard Brexit". SMEs were paid particularly close attention.
The day after the contingency plan was launched to address the prospect of the UK leaving the EU with no deal, the Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, travelled to the département of Pas-de-Calais. This is a strategic location as the Dover Strait (known as “pas de Calais” in French), which links France to Great Britain, is the place where the largest number of goods and passengers cross between the two countries – with no fewer than 4 million crossings a year.

"What I can see," the Prime Minister commended, "is that, come 30 March, if 'Hard Brexit' were to happen, we’d be ready." Within the customs teams, veterinary services and border police force, "the infrastructure works will have been carried out, extra officials recruited and the procedures adjusted or set up to make sure ‘Hard Brexit’ takes place under the very best conditions," he maintained.

As highlighted by the Prime Minister, the businesses accustomed to trading with non-EC countries are equipped to cope with this type of situation. The same cannot be said of SMEs, which do most of their business within the EU and will have to get to grips with a legal framework binding them to the non-EC country that Great Britain is set to become.

This is why the Prime Minister, together with Gérald Darmanin and Nathalie Loiseau, travelled to meet with SME leaders to talk about the consequences of Brexit and the support schemes available.

"We are going to harness all of the networks that are there for companies to provide them with as much information as possible," Édouard Philippe pledged – not least in the context of the relationship these companies may have with banks, who will have a key advisory role to play. Customs may also provide extensive advice to businesses for organising their trade relations with countries abroad.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister was keen to highlight just how complex an exercise it was to leave the European Union and uncouple economies – all of which comes at a cost. "It underscores for us the merits of having a single market between European partners, in terms of simplicity, growth and uniform standards."

France triggers contingency plan in the event of no-deal Brexit

On Thursday 17 January 2019, two days after the British Parliament rejected the UK's withdrawal agreement from the European Union ... [Read more]
17 January 2019