Government drill for a no-deal Brexit scenario

Gordon Watson

The government will be running a drill for all its relevant government entities in preparation for no-deal Brexit scenario.

In a press conference on Tuesday, European Affairs Minister Edward Zammit Lewis explained that the drill which will happen over the coming weeks, aims at reducing the negative impact in case the United Kingdom leaves the bloc without a deal. No date was set for the drill, however the government was monitoring the situation, Zammit Lewis added.

During the press conference, the government launched an initiative dubbed “Brexit: Be Prepared”, with the Minister saying that the slogan chosen reflected the government’s attitude, as it prepared itself for every eventuality.

The minister urged all those involved to come forward and speak to the relevant government departments, saying that such a situation could be turned into an opportunity.

Minister Zammit Lewis said that the government was committed to be the United Kingdom’s “best partner” once Brexit came into force.

The European Affairs Minister said that the Maltese government remained in favour of an orderly exit, however it prepared itself for every scenario.

Principal permanent secretary Mario Cutajar said that with the possibility of a no-deal withdrawal looming, the public sector started to prepare itself for the worst-case scenario over the past few months. Medicine, aviation and customs, are among the areas which can be impacted once a no-deal Brexit happens.

Cutajar explained that citizens can be better informed through outreach programmes. He added that one can call on the government’s Brexit helpline 153 to clear up any questions they might have.

The principal permanent secretary said that the government is aiming at a smooth transition after 31 October in case of a no-deal withdrawal.

A number of preparations both at EU and national level have been put into place in case of a no-deal withdrawal, Brexit unit head Glenn Micallef explained.

The United Kingdom would be considered as a third country as of 1 November in case of a no-deal Brexit, he underlined.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat met with British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Stephen Barclay to discuss Brexit. British High Commissioner Stuart Gill and European Affairs Minister Edward Zammit Lewis were among those present for the meeting.