While the British government struggles to find a way out of the Brexit tangle, businesses in the Balearics are once more voicing their concerns about the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.
The Confederation of Balearic Business Associations (CAEB), as noted last week in the Bulletin, is to hold a conference at the start of next month, to which all interested business sectors - and the tourism sector in particular - are to be invited. A no-deal Brexit is of uppermost concern, but one business representative - Jordi Mora, the president of the Pimem small to medium-sized businesses association - believes that whatever Brexit there is, there will be negative consequences. "Be it a hard or soft Brexit, there will be a decrease in the number of British tourists this year. Shops, restaurants and other businesses in the complementary sector, especially those in the resorts, are going to be the worst hit. The regional government should be proactive and not wait to see what the eventual outcome is. There needs to be an action plan."
The president of the Chamber of Commerce, Antoni Mercant, agrees with the need to be proactive, while Carmen Planas, the CAEB president, wants businesses themselves to be anticipating events and acting accordingly. "It's time to be thinking of alternative markets to the British."
The employment, trade and industry minister, Iago Negueruela, admits that there is some concern about the effects of Brexit. He explains that the ministry has been monitoring developments for several months and how these might impact on exports and tourism. He insists, however, that undue alarm should not be raised. "When everything is clarified, the appropriate decisions can be taken."
Maria Frontera, president of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, believes that "rapid decisions" should be taken in order to minimise the effects of lack of agreement over Brexit. The hoteliers are particularly concerned about the exchange rate and the competition from destinations not in the Eurozone, such as Turkey.
As for exports, Balearic trade with the UK is worth around 50 million euros per annum. This is under threat from increased customs control, and while this year's potato exports should mostly be unaffected, the same cannot be said for products like wine and olive oil.