Although The Prime Minister urges our European colleagues to show “courage, trust and leadership“, it appears irony is beyond her.
The French are not known for irony either and, whilst it seems to have been given little publicity, they have now outlined their plans for Brexit in the absence of any negotiated deal.
It is not good news.
This would be French emergency legislation which sets out the specific problems for which new French laws would be required.
Let us not forget that France is an economy which is the same size as the UK. Brexiteers may try to bully Ireland – both North and South – but France is our size – and, under Macron, is firmly in favour of the European project. France is part of the European mainland – it is not at the extremities of Europe like both Ireland and Britain – and it simply doesn’t ever need to comply with any Brexit fantasies.
So when the UK has left the EU to “control our borders”, we should surely and equally expect the French to control theirs. This possible emergency legislation would do just that.
French “No Deal” legislation says that UK citizens will need a visa to visit France. People wanting to live there permanently will need to provide justification, and this includes family members moving there to reunite with existing UK residents living there…
Quite remarkably…the hostile environment works both ways.
The UK will become a ‘Third Country’, (and as also a country that is not in the European Economic Area) customs and usual border checks will be applicable.
No Deal is likely to involve the reinstatement of veterinary and phytosanitary controls at the borders of the EU for live animals, plants and animal and plant products from the UK, or from other third countries transiting the UK at dedicated border inspection posts. A Labour MEP has pointed out that restoration of phytosanitary checks will include those on wooden pallets. No problem there then.
That is really evidence of what has been called not the sunlit – but the unlit – uplands of Brexit.
France says checks will need to be put in place on the day of withdrawal and the relevant control areas will require emergency legal powers to create them.
This is prospective French legislation – quick and incisive as it can often be in such a large country – overrunning any local problem.
Britain is meanwhile temporarily corralling areas of the M20.
An idea of what it means (in English) for Brits living in France is here.
And the Germans seem to have some sort of similar plan with 4,700 new jobs at Customs, and at least 750 new customs jobs in the Netherlands, according to some reports.
That’s another fine mess… Not Laurel and Hardy, but Cameron and May…
And the British populace are just collateral damage.