On Saturday 23 June it will be two years to the day since a majority of Britons voted in a referendum to leave the EU. Negotiations are currently under way on the terms of the so-called Brexit. VBO hopes that these will result in an agreement allowing trade with the UK to continue as smoothly as possible and without restrictions. The employers’ organisation says that the impact Brexit will have on the Belgian economy should be underestimated.
"Of all the EU member states Belgium is in the leading group when it comes to who will be hardest hit by Brexit”
With 9% of our exports going to the UK, the British market is the biggest customer for Belgian exports.
VBO says that what its describes as a “Cliff-edge Brexit”, whereby no agreement is reached between the EU and the UK by 29 March 2019, should be avoided at any cost.
"For Belgian businesses it is very important that we maintain as wide and deep a partnership possible with the British for goods and services and at the same time the good functioning of the internal market is guaranteed”.
The VBO Chairman Pieter Timmermans believes that Brexit should serve as a wake-up call to European politicians and policy-makers.
"They should dare to ask the question of how things could have come so far and take action to help rebuild support for the project of European integration”, Mr Timmermans said just ahead of a debate between a number of Belgian MEPs at the VBO’s headquarters in Brussels.