Mehdi Chebil/Polaris

Flemish Task Force prepares for Brexit

The Flemish Government is closely following developments surrounding the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union. With the UK being one of our region’s most important trading partners the Flemish Government intends leave nothing to chance when it comes to Brexit. The Flemish Prime Minister and the Christian democrat and liberal Deputy Prime Ministers met with representatives of a number of branches of industry that will be most impacted by Brexit on Monday morning. The meeting of the “Brexit Task Force” was intended to take stock of events so far and to asses where we are at the moment. “We need to be alert” was the message conveyed ahead of Monday morning’s meeting.    

It is still unclear whether the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to get the Brexit deal agreed with the European Union last week through the UK Parliament. With any Brexit scenario set to have an impact on the Flemish economy, politicians and business leaders in Flanders are closely following developments in London.

Any kind of Brexit, be it hard, soft or no deal will have an impact on our economy. A “no deal Brexit” would cause Flanders’ GDP to fall by 2.5% and threaten 28,000 jobs. Even with a deal GDP could fall by 1.8%. 

Request for compensation

The Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (nationalist), Deputy Prime Ministers Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat)and Lydia Peeters (liberal) met with representatives of industries such as the ports, logistics and fisheries that will be impacted most by an eventual no-deal Brexit.   

During the meeting all parties ran through the measures already taken. “Possible difficulties and short-comings” were also discussed.

After the meeting the Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon said “Hopefully we will able to quickly start building an ambitious new relationship with the UK. I will continue to press other EU countries and the EU institutions to provide for compensatory measures for those that will be impact the most by Brexit, even if Brexit comes with a deal”.    

The Flemish Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Hilde Crevits said that she has prepared a number of measures. “These are economic measures regarding jobs and measures for agriculture and fisheries.

45 Flemish Innovation and Enterprise Agency advisors are on hand at brexit@fitagency.be to provide support to our businesses. Bespoke assistance and financial support is also provided”.  

The liberal Deputy Flemish Prime Minister Lydia Peeters told journalists “We need to be alert regardless of the (Brexit) scenario. In any case it will have an impact on our ports and on transport to and from the UK”.

Mr Peeters added that the Flemish Government has prepared an emergency plan and a communication policy and that preparations have been made to deal with any issues our fishermen might encounter at sea.