The ‘Brexit impact scan’, software enabling an impact assessment of Brexit on the activity of Belgian businesses, has only been consulted by a small number of Walloon businesses, compared to Flemish SMEs. The Belgian Minister for the Economy, Kris Peeters, maintained in L’Echo on Wednesday, “Companies are too quick to think that they will be sheltered from its impact.”
Since the FPS Economy placed the ‘Brexit impact scan’ online, 5,451 businesses have accessed this tool, for which 4,146 are Flemish SMEs and barely 1,305 French-speaking. Roughly four businesses running the test out of five are therefore Flemish, which translates into a lack of equilibrium between the north and the south of Belgium.
Certainly, Kris Peeters comments, “the most impacted companies are located in Flanders and Brussels.” At the same time less than 85% of Belgian businesses exporting to the UK are Flemish entities.
For all that, there is no reason for French-speaking businesses not to question the impact of a ‘no deal’. Peeters advises, “I understand the perception that a Walloon businessman is not, at first sight, impacted. However, it is important for him to consult the ‘Brexit impact scan’. We are too quick to think that we will be sheltered from its impact.” The minister is inviting Belgium’s businesses to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario.
Owing to the interdependence of the economic fabric across Belgium’s regions, a hard Brexit affecting Flanders will, out of necessity, have knock-on consequences for Wallonia.