Brexit – plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

To all those British and European entrepreneurs and business people who are wondering if they are prepared for next week – or not – and if they need to spend the next few days poring through the 1,256 pages of the latest TCA to find out!

Yesterday during a comprehensive meeting to prepare for Brexit, I asked the Dutch and British customs and business ministry representatives what are the detailed differences between the October 2019 deal, for which we had spent significant resources preparing and which was rejected by the British parliament, and the current December 2020 deal.

The answer from both sides – nothing. A few minor eliminations of duties and quotas, which should be checked item by item, and a reduction in the British share of fish caught in the North Sea. So there you have the differences in a nutshell between the two deals. The major conclusion for businesses: if you were prepared in 2019, you are ready now.

Regarding the politics, the main change is the deal proposer. Mrs May did not have parliamentary support, but Mr Johnson apparently does, even though the deal this time is marginally worse than the one Mrs May presented, if you are a fisherman.