The Malta Independent 17 August 2019, Saturday

TMID Editorial: No-deal Brexit - Is Malta prepared?

Saturday, 19 January 2019, 09:15 Last update: about 8 months ago

Germany's parliament on Thursday approved legislation under which Britain would essentially still be treated as an EU member during the nearly two-year transition foreseen by the withdrawal agreement that the British Parliament rejected this week.

France's government is kicking off a €50 million plan to prepare for the possibility that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal.

The Dutch government announced that it will let British citizens living in the Netherlands remain in the country for 15 months in the event of a no-deal Brexit and offer them the opportunity to apply for residency permits.


This was a partial reaction by some EU countries to the defeat suffered by the British government on Wednesday, with Theresa May's proposed divorce deal rejected by an overwhelming 432 votes to 202 - the largest ever defeat suffered by a British government in modern history.

Theresa May's government survived a no-confidence vote the day after, but Wednesday's defeat has left Britain's exit process from the European Union - a decision taken in a referendum in May 2016 - in a deep crisis.

This is happening just 10 weeks before the date that has been slated for Britain's departure from the EU - 29 March.

The likelihood, at this stage and unless some kind of last-gasp arrangement is made, is that Britain will get out of the EU without a deal.

Where does Malta stand in this situation, which international political experts are describing as chaotic?

Last November, the minister responsible for EU relations, Helena Dalli, had assured us that Malta "is prepared" for a no-deal Brexit and that she had given a presentation on Malta's preparedness to parliament's foreign and European affairs committee. The government is keeping abreast with the situation "as it is developing".

Nearly two months have passed and the answers we're being given today have not changed much. "In the wake of the UK Parliament rejection of the negotiated EU-UK exit agreement, the government stepped up its preparations for a no-deal scenario," a spokesman for the OPM told The Malta Independent, when asked. "In the next days, the government will be pronouncing itself on its plans for a possible no-deal Brexit."

Well, the government seems to be taking its time to say what steps will be taken. It would do well to publish all the guidelines that are necessary to enable anyone who will be affected by Brexit to understand what needs to be done and what new procedures are to be followed.

There are many companies who import and export from and to the UK. There are also many logistics and transport companies who are entrusted with the distribution of material to and from the UK. And there are also private individuals, including Maltese who reside and work in the UK, and British nationals who reside in Malta, be it for work purposes or after their retirement, who would like to know what a no-deal Brexit is going to entail.

There is little knowledge and so much confusion as to what will happen after 29 March. And the answers being received from the Maltese government are still too flimsy to mean anything. Castille should be more forthcoming on such an important sub ject.






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