The Dutch government is to bring in emergency measures to deal with the consequences of a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit when the UK leaves the European Union in March.
Foreign affairs minister Stef Blok said the ‘Brexit law’ would minimise the risk of a ‘hard Brexit’ interfering with the movement of goods and people, as well as addressing more basic issues such as the validity of driving licenses.
British prime minister Theresa May released a draft withdrawal agreement last week, but the 585-page document has been heavily criticised by hardline Brexiteers in her government and the Conservative Party, fuelling speculation that she could soon face a leadership challenge.
The deal also has to be approved by the European parliament and the British parliament at Westminster, where there is strong opposition among some of May’s party colleagues.
Blok said the Netherlands had to be prepared for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. ‘The draft agreement needs the approval of the European Parliament and the parliament in London. The race is far from over. That’s why I am sending a Brexit law to the lower house so that we can take emergency measures if we have to deal with a hard Brexit.’
Blok added that he viewed the draft deal between London and Brussels as the best available, despite pro-Brexit MPs in Westminister arguing that a new prime minister could try to reopen negotiations in the five months remaining.
An EU summit is being held at the weekend where governments will decide whether to approve the proposed deal.
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