Belgian Foreign Minister “not surprised” by Brexit vote

The Federal Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders (Francophone liberal) has told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ that he regrets the UK Parliament’s decision to reject the Brexit agreement struck between the British Prime Minister and the European Union.

Nevertheless, Mr Reynders says that he is not surprised that MPs in the House of Commons rejected the deal. “There had already been indications that this would happen during the day”  

391 MPs voted against and just 242 for the Brexit agreement.   

The Belgian Foreign Minister is not against Brexit. However, he intends to wait and see what will happen later on Wednesday when MPs in the House of Commons will vote on a bill to prevent the UK leaving the EU on 29 March without a deal. “A ‘no-deal Brexit’ would cause difficulties for both the United Kingdom and the European Union and above all for Belgium”.  

The Flemish Government has prepared an emergency decree that is aimed at preparing the Flemish economy for the eventuality of the UK leaving the EU without an agreement on 29 March.   

Mr Reynders says that Federal Government too has a plan to help cope with the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

"All EU member states have to take precautionary measures"

All options remain open

Mr Reynders says that the ball is in the UK’s court. If the UK parliament rejects the accord and asks for Brexit to be delayed this can’t be granted unconditionally.  

"We await the contents of any proposal for a postponement. We will discuss it on Tuesday and at the European summit at the end of next week. However, the British will need to give good motivation for their request.