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Interior minister confident that Belgium is Brexit-ready

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden pictured during a coordination meeting of all instances regarding the brexit, in the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Wednesday 09 December 2020. BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ
14:22 10/12/2020

A meeting chaired by interior minister Annelies Verlinden was held yesterday to check on the Brexit-readiness of Belgium with just three weeks to go before the deadline.

The meeting had been planned for a long time and the fact that it took place while the last chance negotiations to reach an agreement between the British and Europeans were taking place was purely coincidental.

At a press briefing at the midpoint of the meeting, Annelies Verlinden was reassuring. “I have seen that the authorities, the governors, the police, are all well prepared,” she said. “Every effort is made to ensure that the preparation is as best as possible.

"Businesses will be required to complete additional forms related to customs obligations. It is expected that there will be cooperation between the police and customs. It also depends on the negotiations, whether or not we will have an agreement with the United Kingdom, but everything is planned.”

The meeting brought together officials from police zones, the customs authorities, Flemish and Walloon administrations as well as provincial governors. The interior minister revealed that police coordination has been established between local and federal police, and contacts have also been made with the French police.

With regard to the necessary documents for those who wish to travel to or from the United Kingdom, the negotiations currently under way will provide the final clarification. The Belgian meeting set out various scenarios based on these same negotiations, with contingency plans developed by the crisis centre.

Whatever happens, companies exporting to Britain will face additional administrative obligations. The details of these obligations, which still need to be clarified at European level, will effectively determine how complicated these new administrative requirements will be.

Written by Nick Amies