Brexit deal: Belgian businesses hold their breath for UK Parliament reaction
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    Brexit deal: Belgian businesses hold their breath for UK Parliament reaction

    Fourteen federal public service executives have still not passed the languages test required by law. Credit: fdecomite/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

    Business organisations in Belgium expressed satisfaction on Thursday at the conclusion of a draft deal between British and European Brexit negotiators but preferred not to celebrate until the text is approved by the British Parliament this weekend.

    “It’s an important step forward. If the British Parliament approves this agreement, we can finally negotiate on trade,” the Belgian business federation, FEB commented. “Our businesses need clarity and legal security.”

    However, the federation said it was necessary to remain cautious since the UK Parliament could still turn down the accord.

    Should Parliament approve the draft, talks will need to begin quickly on future EU-UK trade relations.

    If the draft is rejected, further negotiations will need to be launched with a view to averting a hard Brexit at all cost, the Flemish employers’ association, Voka, noted.

    The association of independent contractors, UNIZO, said it would continue to brace for the worst until the deal is given the green light. “We welcome the new agreement with optimism, but we shall keep on preparing our businesses for a hard Brexit as long as the accord is not ratified on both sides of the English Channel,” commented UNIZO Chief Executive Danny Van Assche.

    Once the deal goes through, Belgian small and medium-sized companies will be able to keep doing business with Britain, he noted. Still, he added, the “United Kingdom is not North Korea. A guarantee is needed to be able to trade across the English Channel, even after a Brexit.”

    Oscar Schneider

    The Brussels Times