On Friday, the Dutch government said that it planned to hire a minimum of 750 new customs agents in preparation for the exit of Britain from the European Union.
In a letter to the parliament, Menno Snel, the deputy Finance Minister, said that the cabinet had “decided that the Customs and Food and Wares agencies should immediately begin recruiting and training more workers.”
Snel said that the government was working on the basis of two scenarios namely: that Britain withdraws from the European Union without a deal in place, or that it exits on similar terms to that of the recent trade deal of the Union with Canada.
“The results are that … around 930 or 750 full-time employees are needed,” stated Snel. “It speaks for itself that the cabinet is following the negotiations closely in order to be able to react appropriately.”
Pieter Omtzigt, a lawmaker who is the Brexit rapporteur of the Dutch parliament, said that he had recommended the said move.
He stated: “For a trading nation like the Netherlands, you just cannot afford for customs not to work, it would be a disaster.”
Omtzigt said that both sides of the English Channel had been sluggish to wake up to the reality that the United Kingdom was on course to withdraw from the European Union in 14 months’ time.
He stated: “If we need hundreds of new customs and agricultural inspectors, the British are going to need thousands.”