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EU Nations Prepare for a Hard Brexit

In mid-January 2019 the UK Parliament rejected the proposed European Union (EU)-UK agreement that provided for a more or less orderly Brexit. Two months ahead of the deadline, the British government is expected to further push for an approval of the agreement, but a disorderly separation may now be the most likely scenario.

Accordingly, EU nations are getting ready to minimize expected disruptions. The European Commission, in December 2019, published its own contingency plans [1] identifying 14 key policy areas [2] for EU member states to adopt. Nevertheless, many areas remain under the responsibility of EU members and their states of preparation, as well as their key areas of concern, vary.

Here is what is known as of mid-January 2019

The Austrian government has prepared an omnibus law in case of a hard Brexit which focuses on issues of citizenship as an acquired dual citizenship is normally not allowed under Austrian law.

Home to the second largest European harbour, Antwerp, Belgium is increasing its customs force to deal with shipping − its main area of concern.

The Danish government is particularly worried about food and energy exports.

In December 2018 the French Parliament passed a package of measures that allows the government to use executive orders to facilitate travel, residence permits, work issues, and access to welfare for British citizens in France.

Under Germany’s no-deal preparations, insurance products can still benefit from the current passporting regime.

Like Belgium, and home to the largest European harbour − Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ focus in on ferry traffic to the UK.

Portugal is focussing on immigration issues. It will not require British citizens to have a visa provided the UK offers reciprocity. The UK is Portugal’s #1 source of visitors and over 22,000, mostly retired, Britons are permanent residents.

The Spanish government plans to enact its contingency plans by February, focusing on aviation, financial services, and agriculture and fishing.

The government in Stockholm is preparing measures in “10 areas,” including financial services and citizens’ rights.