As Belgium prepares for the potential departure of the United Kingdom from the EU at the end of the month, Gare du Midi station – home of the Eurostar connection from Brussels to London – is having to make some changes to ensure a smooth transition.
Freshly hired, a team of 28 customs officers are currently in training to assist with any new required formalities that Brexit may bring for travellers.
“We are preparing for the possibility of welcoming passengers from the United Kingdom or leaving for the United Kingdom on 1 November,” Céline Angelici, spokesperson for the Federal Public Service Finance told RTBF.
Two facilities are additionally being developed in preparation for the UK exit, currently scheduled for 31 October.
One, already in place, will handle the control of goods (drugs and weapons, but also goods subject to taxes such as alcohol or tobacco). The second will allow the formalities such as VAT refunds to be completed if necessary and is set to arrive by the end of October.
Despite changes within the terminal, Eurostar services are still expected to continue on the existing basis. “At this point we expect to maintain services on the existing basis and timetable following Brexit. We are working closely with the governments and have made preparations to ensure we continue to operate in either a deal or ‘no-deal’ scenario,” a Eurostar spokesperson told The Brussels Times.