foto peter Hilz (C)

"Don't panic but prepare for 'No deal Brexit'"

Belgian economy minister Kris Peeters is urging business to prepare for a possible hard Brexit and for the possibility of the UK severing its close economic ties with the EU, but also for the eventuality of the bloc failing to strike a deal with the UK.

In September the Belgian economy will undergo a scan to establish the impact of a hard Brexit business by business.  Mr Peeters has spoken with Michel Barnier, who is leading talks on the UK's exit from the bloc on behalf of the EU.  He also met with the members of the Belgian Brexit High Level Group that includes representatives of business. Mr Peeters is eager to take additional measures to get Belgian business in shape for a hard Brexit and its impact.  Business should also prepare for a no deal scenario when the UK leaves the bloc without any deal.

Kris Peeters: "The potential ramifications for our economy are great. A heard Brexit can still be averted, but we want businesses to be more alert, while not panicking.  "

In September Belgian businesses will be able to undergo an impact scan tailored to their individual business.  Businesses are asked to fill in a questionnaire mapping out the exact impact of Brexit on their activities.  The economy minister will also publish a website with all the relevant information about Brexit for businesses.

Count Paul Buysse, who heads the Belgian Brexit High Level Group: "Concern is growing around the table.  The challenge is to prepare our businesses as best as possible and to cushion the blow.  We must be extremely cautious because everybody will lose."