Preparation for the financial and economic impact and the consequences for Customs
The Netherlands Court of Audit has audited the government’s preparations for the consequences of Brexit. We first investigated how the Brexit preparations were being organised and then analysed the financial and economic consequences. Our audit found that the government had been intensively preparing the public and private sectors for the consequences of a no-deal Brexit since 2016.
The direct financial cost of a no-deal Brexit would be approximately €2.3 billion in the period 2018-2023. Moreover, Customs would not be fully prepared for the new and increased workload caused by Brexit on 29 March 2019. Parliament is informed about Brexit in broad lines.
Why did we audit the Brexit preparations and the consequences of Brexit?
It is thought that Brexit will have many consequences for the Netherlands. They will include an increase in the workload at Customs and higher demands on public finances, directly owing to the increased contribution to the EU and indirectly owing to the impact on Dutch trade in many sectors. The audit looked at what the government was doing to prepare the Netherlands for Brexit.
What methods did we use to audit the consequences of Brexit?
We carried out our audit at the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, and Economic Affairs and Climate Policy between March and July 2018. We requested information and held interviews at the ministries. We also requested information and held interviews at Customs. We made several working visits to Customs units active in the Port of Rotterdam and at Schiphol Airport. We were unable to independently verify the reliability and validity of the figures used by the ministries.
On behalf of the Minister of Finance, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the Minister of Foreign Affairs responded to our report on 3 December 2018. The audit was published on 10 December 2018.