French officials have slapped down British claims France will frustrate and “slow” trade passing through Calais in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Dominic Raab, the UK’s Brexit Secretary, claimed Thursday there would be major disruption in a “worse case scenario”, forcing trade to shift to other ports.
He said the UK needed “to prepare for the worst-case scenario where the authorities at Calais are deliberately directing a go-slow approach by supporting a diversion of the flow to more amenable ports in other countries”.
Project Fear 2.0 – May Plans to ‘Scare People Witless’ to Win Support for Soft Brexit, MP Reveals https://t.co/s9GKp8jhPr
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 27, 2018
The president of Calais’ Hauts-de-France region Xavier Bertrand dismissed Mr Raab’s claims, saying France would ensure the “fluidity” of trade after Brexit.
“Who on earth could think that a go-slow approach would be good for business?” he blasted, insisting the “region and Calais” is working on new systems “to increase fluidity at both ports [and the Channel] tunnel”.
Posting a link to Mr Raab’s comments, he added: “No! Closing the port or tunnel at #Calais for the British in the event of a #Brexit no agreement is not envisaged!
“Who can believe such a thing? We have to do everything we can to ensure the fluidity [of trade].”
Another official said closing Calais would be an “economic suicide mission”.
And Jean-Paul Mulot, who represents Hauts-de-France in the UK, said that while there might be delays in the event of a no-deal, it was in France’s interest to minimise these.
French government has got no plans to close down #Calais: lots of people confused about potential threats around No Deal. Customs aren’t the issue, maybe delays due to eventual light sanitary controls & #brexit exit bill won’t trigger any suicidal economic mission by 🇷 ports https://t.co/dmE4J4Kbw9
— Jean-Paul Mulot (@jeanpaulmulot) October 24, 2018
In an address to the House of Commons Thursday, Mr Raab also criticised the bloc’s “deliberately intransigent approach” to talks, hours after leaks suggest the Government will start legislating for a “no deal” in just three weeks.
The Prime Minister and her government have long argued her plan for a ‘soft’ Brexit is the UK’s only option, insisting both a ‘no deal’ or basic free trade deal favoured by Brexiteers will harm the UK.
Claims that a ‘no deal’ will lead to disaster have been dubbed “Project Fear Two” after anti-Brexit campaigners made unfounded claimed the vote to leave the bloc would lead to disaster in 2016.