A French Minister has warned that Eurostar trains will be turned back from Europe if Britain leaves with No Deal. He even said that planes from the UK would be barred from entering Europe if we can’t reach an agreement. I’d love to hear the argument for this. This hurts both our economies, and seems like a "cut your nose to spite your face" kind of situation.
I suspect that this is greatly exaggerated. We know about Operation Yellowhammer, and the government is clearly planning for a No Deal exit. I can’t imagine thousands of people having flights cancelled, cargo stuck in UK airports, and countless airlines stuck and wondering how to properly compensate ticket holders. It’s just not going to happen, is it?
So perhaps the news about our driving licences is exaggerated too – though, I fear it may not be. The government tells us that after March next year, our driving licence “may no longer be valid by itself” in the European Union. That is, according to the most recent no-deal planning papers. Published on 13th September, the report is titled “Driving in the EU if there’s no Brexit deal,” and it explains:
Driving in the EU
If there is no deal with the EU, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU. An IDP is a document which when carried with your driving licence means you would be able to drive outside of the UK including in EU countries. There are different types of IDP. Which one you need depends on which country you are driving in.
If you currently drive outside the EU, for example in some states of the USA and countries including Japan, you may already be used to obtaining an IDP.
You may be turned away at the border or face other enforcement action, for example fines, if you don’t have the correct IDP.
You may also need an IDP to hire a vehicle when you are abroad.
I mean, come on. The permits only cost about a fiver, so it’s hardly a significant issue – but that’s the point, isn’t it? Is this necessary? Is there really nothing that the Europeans can do to change that?
The National Audit Office believes that between 100,000 and 7,000,000 of these permits would need to be issued in the first year. That’s a lot of people. Many people in Britain drive to Europe – we are lucky enough to be very close to the continent – and I think the spiteful EU bureaucrats know that.
That’s all this is. Pure spite. The closer they get, the more confused they become. I do wonder whether the news that Theresa May is planning a “pivot” if the Chequers deal is rejected might have prompted this. Perhaps the EU is fighting back and undermining our Brexit minister because they know we’re preparing other options if they don’t want to offer us a deal.