Rapporteurs: additional measures needed to prepare for hard Brexit
With less than 31 days to go before the United Kingdom leaves the EU, there is also some urgency for the Netherlands to prepare properly for the possible scenarios. In their third Brexit report on behalf of the European Affairs Committee, Anne Mulder, Pieter Omtzigt and Lodewijk Asscher have warned of the consequences of a no-deal scenario, which is becoming increasingly likely. The rapporteurs are calling for additional preparations and measures.
According to the rapporteurs, current preparations need to be stepped up. The following measures are necessary:
Services that will immediately have an additional workload after 29 March, such as Customs and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), will need to have emergency plans ready;
Cooperation in judicial areas will need to continue at the same level as is currently happening;
For life-saving medicines and medical devices, it must be possible to issue emergency licences or permits;
The state must be prepared to provide support to sectors in the Dutch business community that are highly dependent on smooth trade with the UK, such as fisheries. This also applies to other companies that have made preparations, but still face significant logistical problems;
The legal protection of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU must be guaranteed;
Government bodies and public services, including ministries, the NVWA, Customs, police, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and the authorities in the coastal area and around key ports have drawn up protocols and conducted emergency exercises in preparation for a hard Brexit. Parliament must gain an insight into these;
The British Customs procedures and their consequences will need to be carefully assessed. If they change, it is advisable to respond to that as an EU of 27 member states rather than as an individual member state, in order to prevent unfair competition;
In recent years, various institutes have charted the expected costs of Brexit. The government must reveal these figures to Parliament, together with the costs incurred by businesses;
Parliamentary committees must ask the relevant ministers in their own policy areas about the current situation with regard to preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
The rapporteurs stress that, whatever the situation, Brexit will also be the starting point for a new relationship with the UK, including a partnership treaty. “We should use the constructive cooperation and close ties which have characterised the relationship between Netherlands and the UK within the EU, and which we still enjoy bilaterally, to forge a new, strong and comprehensive partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom.”