Today April 19th, CADS and others appeared in front of the Appeal Court in Amsterdam, where once again the Dutch government did its utmost to prevent the court from asking for clarification from the European Court of Justice. The judges will rule in 9 weeks, on the 19th June. The overall time of the appeal is something of a record for the Dutch appeals process. The judges seemed sympathetic to our case, although one question from them implied that they needed to know if actual damage had yet been done – we answered that the confusion was itself already causing damage, but it is difficult to quantify as yet.

It remains the case that our current rights expire on 29th March 2019 in just over 11 months. If the currently agreed Transitional Arrangements become law, there will be some ridiculous consequences: e.g. the rights of UK residents in The Netherlands become restricted only to The Netherlands, whereas UK citizens resident in the UK remain unrestricted; i.e. it will no longer be possible for a UK citizen resident in NL to provide goods or services to other EU countries, while UK citizens residing in the UK are unaffected. (see note 1)

This will also impact all UK citizens residing in other EU states. There are many other stupid unintended consequences of this confused situation. Why the Dutch government wishes its own businesses to remain in confusion is a mystery to us all, but they again appeared in court today stubbornly opposed to allowing the court to request the ECJ to clarify the situation. Now we wait – and pray!

In other news, the NBCC has organised workshops for all businesses, and you are cordially invited on Monday 23rd in Amstelveen or Tuesday 24th in Rotterdam. These workshops will simulate the consequences of Brexit on your business, and will look at 6 sectors in particular that are important to Anglo-Dutch trade. They will be based on KPMG reports that you can download here in both English and Dutch. In short, most businesses are currently ill-prepared for what is about to happen to Anglo-Dutch trade and supply chains. Have you started yet to prepare warehouse space for the additional clearance time? Have you checked the UK elements of your supply chain? Are you prepared for the additional administration required for customs clearance?

note 1: In the latest draft (18th March at time of writing) the offending article 32 and its explanatory heading limiting the rights of UK residents in the EU has now been completely eliminated, however other articles still refer to it. no doubt there will be yet another draft shortly. This proves that the negotiating teams are currently making it up as  they go along, and that the only way to obtain any certainty is to ask the ECJ, which both parties have agreed to recognise as the ultimate arbiter of our rights.