Belgium is organising a meeting of heads of State and Government of countries that would be hardest hit should Britain crash out of the European Union on Friday 12 April, Le Soir reported on Tuesday.
The meeting is to be held before the extraordinary summit of the EU, scheduled for Wednesday evening in Brussels, where the 27 are to decide on a new request for postponement from British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The countries invited by Belgium are Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Ireland. These are the countries geographically closest to the UK and also those with the strongest trade ties with it.
Germany was also approached, but since Chancellor Angela Merkel had to address the Bundestag before the EU summit, she will be unable to reach Brussels on time for Wednesday’s meeting. That probably works out for the better, according to government sources, since her presence along with that of the French president would have made it seem like a mini-summit, which Belgium did not want.
The issues scheduled to come up for discussion at the meeting include the coordination of border control operations (possible movements of persons at certain crossing points) as well as economic and phytosanitary inspections.