Wary Dutch hire foreign vets for Brexit customs checks

The Hague: The Netherlands is hiring around 100 mainly foreign veterinarians to check imported animals and food from Britain in its latest contingency plan for a no-deal Brexit, the government said on Friday. Most will be recruited from southern and eastern Europe as there are not enough qualified vets to spare in the Netherlands, and they will receive a crash-course in the Dutch language before being deployed. European Union countries are increasingly concerned that Britain will crash out of the bloc without a divorce agreement on March 29, meaning that customs checks and tariffs would automatically return. The Netherlands in particular has taken a number of steps to ease the expected impact of the rift with one of its biggest trading partners.

“We want to take precautions,” a spokeswoman from the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) said, adding that it wanted to train 143 new employees including 100 veterinarians. The NVWA said it was working on the assumption that in the case of a no-deal Brexit all goods being imported from Britain to the EU needed to be checked.  “Brussels prescribes that food and food-related products from third countries, and that includes the UK, must be inspected by skilled veterinarians,” the spokeswoman said. The vets would be deployed at the Netherlands’ two inspection points for live animals at Amsterdam Schiphol airport and Maastricht Aachen airport, and for meat inspection points at various ports including the sea port of Rotterdam, the NOS news website reported. The inspection of imported meat was a “laborious process”, it added.

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