France warns of no-deal Brexit chaos

Port of Dunkirk Port including Dunkirk could be thrown into chaos. Credit: Port of Dunkirk

Extra customs controls for trucks in France in the event of a no-deal Brexit will create heavy traffic jams resulting in “complete paralysis”, the president of the Northern Hauts-de-France region has warned.

Xavier Bertrand said the whole of Europe would be affected if an agreement wasn’t struck, with French and German trucks, companies and factories blocked from carrying out business.

“If we have two minutes of extra customs controls for trucks, it will mean 27 kms of traffic jams on both sides and this will result in complete paralysis,” Mr Bertrand told the Financial Times. “This is one of the busiest commercial arteries in the world…We must do everything to avoid chaos.”

More help

Calling for more help from Brussels and Paris to manage the risk, he stressed that the European Commission would need to soften rules on border checks, while more resources would be needed from the French government.

In noting the need for experts for healthy and safety management, cash flow help for businesses and increased security risks, he said: “The government must respond quickly to these very concrete questions, there is very little time, there is urgency!”

As much flexibility as possible is needed to cope with the challenges of a no-deal scenario and helpful ways of preparing for this could include asking for “exemptions from the European Commission to reduce customs and regulatory controls based on risk analysis.”

The Hauts-de-France region includes the ports of Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer and Dunkirk and Mr Bertrand added that his region was seeking to ensure that “controls are not done at the last moment at the border but further upstream.”

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