MALLORCA needs to turn away from the British to stave off the ‘serious’ effects of a no-deal Brexit, business leaders have warned.
Business associations CAEB, PIMEM and the Mallorca Chamber of Commerce made the stark warning just days before British MPs are set to vote on the controversial Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU next week.
During a special conference at the ICEX headquarters in Palma, the tourism and trade ministry agreed that the ‘uncertainty is absolute’, adding that there will be direct and indirect negative effects on the local economy.
CAEB boss Carmen Planas said: “Balearic exports will be affected with a hard Brexit, as well as the tourism industry because it will reduce the purchasing power of the Brits.
“It is time to think of other alternative markets to the British.
“Companies must be prepared to act.”
The deputy director of the OTS in London (Turespaña), Carlos Ruiz, agreed, saying the parity between currencies is almost even (1.11 pounds to 1 euro).
“This affects the purchasing power of British tourists and depreciation is what causes the deviation of the British to countries where the pound is strongest, like Turkey and Egypt,” he said.
Meanwhile, airport bosses have said Palma will be unable to cope with the likely greater controls on passengers, baggage and customs.
“In Palma there is no infrastructure to absorb this situation,” said customs boss for the Balearics Miguel Morey.
Airport body AENA said it is planning to convert the arrival area into one large single room to cope with the increase in controls.
Meanwhile the president of PIMEM, Jordi Mora, said Brexit is seeing ‘the worst of omens coming true’ and that there are many underlying risks for the Balearic economy over the next two years.
The fear among Balearic leaders comes as British prime minister Theresa May had one of her worst weeks in parliament to date, suffering three humiliating defeats in the House of Commons.
For the first time in history, the Government was found to be in contempt of Parliament after not publishing the full legal advice from the Attorney General on the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement.
It forced the Government to publish the full document, which warned that the UK could be ‘stuck inside’ the Customs Union as separate negotiations over the Irish border backstop could go on for years.
But in the most significant defeat, pro-European Conservative rebel Dominic Grieve won support for his amendment, which he said will give Parliament a direct say in what happens if May’s deal is rejected by MPs in the vote on Tuesday.
This means MPs can exert more influence by voting on what they want the government to do if her deal is struck down.