“Reaction of Belgian Customs comes too late to confront Brexit on time”
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    “Reaction of Belgian Customs comes too late to confront Brexit on time”

    © Belga
    The Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom have already taken preparatory steps relating to their customs systems upon and after Brexit, whilst Belgium has done very little.
    © Belga

    The Christian trade union (the “ACV”) asserted on Wednesday, in a communiqué, that Belgian Customs is lagging behind regarding the anticipation of the consequences of United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. The trade union’s view is that the knock-on effects of Brexit upon customs activities will be significant, although the precise extent of these repercussions remains difficult to determine.

    The ACV notes that neighbouring countries such as the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom itself have already taken preparatory steps. Marc Nijs, of ACV Public Services, says, “The Netherlands, for example, has already laid the foundations of a recruitment campaign for customs officers.”

    He goes on, “Our information indicates that the General Administration for Customs and Excise has begun taking steps with the relevant political authorities. However, it appears that there is only little enthusiasm for it, and little progress is being made.”

    The trade union considers that the main issue is with staff. Mr Nijs concludes, “There is still nothing happening in terms of recruitment, although the deadline for Brexit will be upon us in just over a year. Commitment takes time. Neither civil servants or the Civil Service are in charge of this situation, with it falling within the remit of politicians. It is high time steps were taken.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times