The kingdom has slipped into a double crisis: In addition to the impending hard Brexit, the mutation of the coronavirus has now been added, the movement of goods has been stalling for days.
The EU has sealed off its borders with Great Britain, so that trucks from the island can no longer come to Europe and get stuck in the kilometer-long traffic jam in southern England. But trucks don’t go there either: for fear of not being able to return.
The result: the country’s two largest supermarket chains, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, warned that there would soon be delivery bottlenecks, especially for fresh fruit, vegetables and salads. Particularly affected: citrus fruits, cauliflower and broccoli.
And the British are already reacting, buying the shelves empty!
Now Deutsche Lufthansa is helping! Today it brings fresh food to the UK by air freight, as reported by Bloomberg.
Airlift to Britain!
A Boeing 777F has 80 tons of freight, mostly perishable goods, from Frankfurt / M. brought to the island. Exactly where the “broccoli bomber” was going: to the north of England, to Doncaster-Sheffield Airport. A Sky News reporter tweeted that Lufthansa had confirmed:
Brexit agreement suddenly possible on Wednesday
Meanwhile, the anger among the British is growing. Is the situation a foretaste of the impending hard Brexit? The first British newspapers such as the pro-government Daily Mail implied on Wednesday that the lockdown by France was politically motivated and that President Macron was only using the mutated virus as an excuse to exert pressure in the negotiations on the trade agreement.
Because the Brexit talks actually stalled by then. On Tuesday, the EU spoke of making a “last stop” in the talks. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels: “We are really at a critical moment.”
What was the problem: fishing. According to EU sources, an agreement could be reached on Tuesday this week or next – or NOT AT ALL!
The tide turned on Wednesday, and in the afternoon an agreement was suddenly imminent. Skynews even reported: “Deal is done”. EU sources denied this, but admitted that it could be so far in the next few hours.
Fisch-Zoff: It’s about less money than a football star costs
Indeed, the quarrel over fishing quotas has political implications among many voters of both Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macrons.
The “Daily Mail” made it clear how small the economic significance for the billion-euro agreement is in trade relations: It is about 60 million pounds (about 67 million euros), which is less than the transfer fee that Manchester United paid in 2016 to Juventus Turin for the French footballer Paul Pogba.
As a reminder: Great Britain officially left the EU at the end of January, but that didn’t change anything at first. The transition phase in which the EU rules still apply does not end until December 31.
British government struggles to open the border with France
Without an agreement, there is a risk of higher tariffs and long waiting times at the border. But the situation is already worse than feared and the British government is desperate to open its borders.
The EU Commission recommended that the member states relax the tough flat-rate travel bans so that at least freight traffic becomes possible and travelers can return to their home countries.
But France was stubborn until Tuesday, only allowing the return of travelers residing in France on Wednesday.
France is thus the main trade route for the British: According to the British Retail Consortium, around 40 percent of food imports in supermarkets on the island arrive via Dover, while the proportion is even higher for fresh food.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (56) personally tried to get French President Emmanuel Macron (43) to relax. In principle, it reopened the movement of goods from Wednesday – but before that, the truck drivers who are jammed in their thousands at the border to Europe would have to be tested. And that can take time …