FRANCE has ramped-up preparations for a no deal Brexit on October 31 by conducting trial customs check on goods arriving at the French border as the EU-UK impasse shows no signs of breaking ahead of the Halloween deadline.
Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union in just 43 days time without an agreement – which will see the UK withdraw from the single market and customs union. As a result British and EU goods will be subject to strict border checks to see if freight meets relevant UK and EU regulations. France has begun implementing checks at the port of Ouistreham, north of Caen, where three lorries and a ferry arrive daily from Portsmouth.
The French Government has invested 40 million euros in preparation for the Brexit in recent months.
In addition, 700 additional customs officers have been hired.
In the port of Ouistreham, located in northwestern region, three ships arrive per day, three million tons of goods and one million passengers arrive every year.
There are also 44 million tonnes of goods arriving Calais each year from the UK.
Gérald Darmanin, French minister for the state budget, said: “We prepare ourselves as if there were a no deal.”
Mr Darmanin insisted if the UK and EU could thrash out a deal it would be “easier” but warned Britain would be treated like any other country after Brexit.
He added: “If there is a deal, we will adjust and it will be a bit easier.
“And if there is no agreement, then Britain will become a foreign market for us, just like South Africa.”