In case of no deal on Brexit, the apocalypse will not take place

A Brexit without agreement would be a severe economic shock for the UK, but the impact will be more gradual and limited than the pro-Europeans claim.

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Trucks arrive at Dover port during test on how the route will be handled in case of "no agreement" Brexit, Kent, UK, 7 January.
Trucks arrive at Dover port during test on how the route will be handled in case of "no agreement" Brexit, Kent, UK, 7 January. Peter Nicholls / REUTERS

Chronic. In the UK, opponents of Brexit are making the same mistake as during the referendum campaign three years ago. By screaming to the wolf, and announce an economic disaster in case of exit from the European Union (EU) without agreement, they exaggerate their arguments so much that they convince more than themselves.

During the referendum, they were talking about a recession the day after the vote. They were wrong. Three years later, the economic slowdown is real: British growth has lost three points compared to what it would have been if the British had voted to stay in the EU, according to the calculations of the Bank of England. That's a lot, but the effect is so gradual that it's hard to see it.

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The same goes for the risks of the "no deal", an exit without agreement. Never has a country cut off all bridges. The shock would be major. But from there to talk about widespread shortages of drugs and food? To imagine the British facing famine and epidemics? Obviously not.

Even pro-European experts recognize it. This is the case of Sam Lowe, a specialist in trade relations at the Center for European Reform, a think tank. "In case of" no deal ", opponents of Brexit will suffer a backlash. It will not be the apocalypse. We will find to eat. "

Long truck traffic jams

Let. To understand the effects of the "no deal", it is necessary to dissect its effects step by step, beginning with what would happen between Dover and Calais, where the majority of the country's imports and exports pass. Overnight, the United Kingdom would become a third country. British trucks arriving in France should make customs declarations and, in the case of agribusiness or live animals, phytosanitary controls will be important. These additional controls could cause in Kent long traffic jams of trucks waiting their turn to cross the border.

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According to official government forecasts, published in the famous "Yellowhammer" file, the flow of trucks would be reduced by "40% to 60%" compared to normal traffic. It's huge.

Simply, these are exports to the European continent. Conversely, the British announced that they would initially let the trucks in as if nothing had changed. No additional control, at least initially. If it is necessary to bring emergency food or medicine, it will be possible.


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