No-deal Brexit could cost Denmark billions, companies looking at alternative markets: ministry

The cost to Denmark’s food industry could stretch into billions of kroner if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on March 29th without a withdrawal agreement.

No-deal Brexit could cost Denmark billions, companies looking at alternative markets: ministry
File photo: NIels Ahlmann Olesen/Ritzau Scanpix

British MPs will vote on Tuesday on whether to back the Prime Minister Theresa May's deal for leaving the union, which was reached with EU negotiators in November.

The deal is widely expected to be voted down by MPs in Westminster. With no alternative having been outlined, this increases the possibility of the UK leaving the union on March 29th with no agreement, a so-called no-deal Brexit.

That situation could cost Denmark up to 17 billion kroner (2.3 billion euros) in exports, the Ministry of Environment and Food said in a press statement on Tuesday.

In 2017, Denmark exported 3.7 billion kroner (500 million euros) of dairy products and 3.4 billion kroner (450 million euros) of pork products to the United Kingdom.

A no-deal Brexit would result in higher levies on exports of these products to the UK, the ministry said.

Tariffs of up to 30-40 percent on butter and butter compound products and 25 percent on pork products exported to the UK could be a consequence of Brexit without a deal in place, according to the ministry.

Ten Danish food producers – which represent 80 percent of the country’s total food export to the UK – have, in partnership with economic consultants Copenhagen Economics, submitted a report to the Ministry of Environment and Food, in which they were asked to consider alternative markets.

Minister for the Environment and Food Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said Denmark could take some positive conclusions from the report, despite the apparently alarming figures.

“The report is not pure Judgement Day reading, because there are growth markets which can match British prices. That could mean countries like China, Hong Kong and Japan for dairy products and South Korea and Australia for pork,” Ellemann-Jensen said via the press release.

“But there are naturally limitations due to the transport times for fresh products, so there’s more to it than simply diverting the relatively large export to the United Kingdom,” he added.

Danish dairy and pork giants, Arla and Danish Crown, both said they would await the outcome of Tuesday’s vote in the British parliament before commenting on the potential consequences.

In October, Arla’s European director Peter Giørtz-Carlsen told Ritzau that a no-deal Brexit would seriously impact the industry.

“(No-deal) would be very bad for the European dairy industry. If you break the very effective supply chain currently in place between the EU and the UK, there could be serious consequences,” the Arla head of Europe said.

“The price of dairy products in the UK will increase, the range of products will decrease, and ultimately, there will be an effect on Arla's business. The UK is our biggest market,” he added.

The United Kingdom currently imports 24 percent of its food, with 71 percent of those imports coming from the EU, the Danish ministry notes in its press release.

“Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, export of food to the United Kingdom will require different procedures for companies. That’s why the Danish Food Administration [Fødevarestyrelsen] is hiring extra staff to issue export certificates, so that bacon, butter and other products continue to find their way across the North Sea,” Ellemann-Jensen said.

READ ALSO: 'Of course you can stay' in event of no-deal Brexit: Danish PM to British citizens


‘We’ve found a solution’: Denmark extends deadline for post-Brexit residency

The Danish government announced on Monday that British nationals, who had missed a previous deadline to secure their post-Brexit residency status, will now have until the end of 2023 to apply or resubmit their late application.

'We've found a solution': Denmark extends deadline for post-Brexit residency

After the UK left the EU, Britons resident in Denmark before the end of 2020 were required to apply to extend their residence status in Denmark and receive a Danish residence card under the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

A significant number of British residents – at least 350, according to official figures released at the beginning of this year – did not apply before the original deadline of December 31st, 2021, however.

Many were subsequently given orders to leave Denmark and Danish immigration authorities came in for much criticism from rights groups representing Britons in Europe, who accused them of not correctly applying the rules of the Withdrawal Agreement.

But on Monday the Danish government announced that the initial deadline will now be extended until the end of 2023.

This extended deadline will apply to all British citizens who applied after the original deadline and whose applications were subsequently not processed.

Brits who had moved to Denmark before the end of 2020 but never submitted an application to extend their Danish residency after Brexit will also have until the end of this year to submit an application, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration said.

A major complication with the original application deadline was an error relating to information letters sent out by the authority that processes the applications, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

The information letters, sent in 2020, were intended to inform all British nationals living in Denmark of the need to apply for their residence status in Denmark to be continued after Brexit. But an error at the agency resulted in most people who moved from the UK to Denmark in 2020 not receiving the information mails.

The Local has previously reported on individual Britons who faced having to leave homes, jobs and loved ones in Denmark over the issue.


“I am very pleased we have found this solution,” Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek said in the statement.

“It has always been the government’s intention to make it easy and smooth for resident British nationals to stay in Denmark. There are some people who didn’t apply on time and we want to give them an extra chance,” he said.

Mads Fuglede, immigration spokesperson with coalition partner the Liberals (Venstre), said that “In light of Brexit, we decided in parliament that it should not harm British residents of Denmark that the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU. I am therefore also pleased we have found a solution for the Britons who did not apply on time”.

All British residents of Denmark applying within the new deadline are still required to be eligible for ongoing residence in Denmark under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, meaning they legally took up residence in Denmark under the EU’s free movement provisions prior to the UK’s exit from the EU. This does not represent any change to the rules under the earlier deadline.

British residents who must now submit applications by the new deadline should be aware of the distinction between an earlier application being rejected, with it not being processed.

In general, late applications under the old deadline were not processed, unless SIRI deemed there to be special circumstances justifying the late submission. In these cases, SIRI informed the applicant that their application could not be processed, citing the missed deadline as the reason for this.

Persons whose applications were processed but were rejected because they did not meet the criteria for ongoing residence under the Withdrawal Agreement will not be given the chance to reapply, the ministry said.

People who moved to Denmark after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31st, 2020 are still subject to general Danish immigration rules for third-country nationals.

The deadline extension will require a legal amendment which will be sent into the hearing phase of parliamentary procedure “as soon as possible”, the ministry said in the statement.