A hard Brexit without frictionless trade could cost 42,000 Belgian jobs. Especially the food and textiles industries will be badly affected. The new study identifies job losses per Flemish province for the first time with nearly 8,000 jobs being trashed in Antwerp Province. Close alignment between Britain and the EU combined with frictionless trade could save nearly 6,000 jobs in Antwerp Province.
If the blow to the overall economy is taken into account West Flanders is hardest hit. Fewer jobs are lost here but the local economy is smaller and will be more affected. 1.3% of West Flemish jobs are threatened by a hard Brexit the researchers claim.
Some cities will be worse affected than other areas: Antwerp, Ghent and the Bruges-Kortrijk axis will all suffer.
The UK officially leaves the EU at the end of January, but an eleven month transition period then starts that means any blow will only be felt at the end of next year.