Denmark is one of the countries which stands to be hit hardest should the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement – an event no less likely with British PM Boris Johnson’s move on Wednesday to suspend parliament for five weeks prior to the October 31st deadline for an agreement to be reached.
The UK is one of Denmark’s largest export markets, with Danish and British fishing boats often in close proximity in the North Sea.
As such, Copenhagen says it will strive to make no-deal Brexit, should it happen, as painless as possible for Danish companies.
“As Danish Prime Minister I have to say that there is much to suggest there will be no deal forthcoming. So we need to prepare more,” Frederiksen said.
“I can already say that we will strengthen our efforts for both small and medium-sized companies. We have a lot of companies which don’t have someone sitting around ready to manage new customs and trade rules. They need help,” the PM continued, speaking at a press briefing on Thursday.
A government plan would be tabled “before long”, she noted.
“The previous government did a good job of preparing the work, I must say,” Frederiksen added.
“But I have a strong feeling that this will be hard for small companies. So our contribution will be to reach out and make a concrete offer.”
The EU should remain open to the UK in negotiations over Brexit, according to the Danish PM.
“The approach from the rest of Europe should be flexible, positive and approachable, if tangible ideas are coming from the UK. Not least with current discussions over the border with Ireland,” she said, adding:
“We must do everything we can to avoid a hard Brexit.”