Could Brexit threaten the future of authentic French baguettes on the streets of Hitchin?
As Francophiles commemorate the storming of the Bastille by demolishing their own fair share of tasty French breads, cheeses and pastries at the France at Home market, local MEP Alex Mayer has warned of stormy times ahead for the traders who cross the Channel.
Alex Mayer MEP met France at Home’s Manager, Muriel Charles, a member of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce, who will give the Hertfordshire MEP a gastronomic tour of France and explain the history of their business which held its very first French Market in the UK back in 1994. They provide decadent French delicacies and delights for all to enjoy, from baguettes and brie to macarons and madeleines.
Ms Charles will express concern over what will happen to their business post-Brexit saying: “We feel very lucky to come to the UK, which has been so welcoming to us since we began, and has been very successful for us. We are worried, and we are waiting to see what the impact will be on our business, as well as what relationship the UK will have with France.”
Currently as a full member of the lucrative Single Market, French and British traders alike can sell their tasty goods to each other free from quotas, caps, as well as taxes and tariffs. Traders can also pass the through the super smooth Channel crossings with no checks needed, thanks to universal rules on food standards and packaging which make it safe for food to cross the borders of the two countries unhindered.
The UK imports over £700 million in baked goods, cakes, chocolates and sweet treats from France every year, with a total of £20 billion of EU imports coming to Hertfordshire and the East. However, with a drop in the value of the British pound by around 10% against the Euro since the Brexit vote just over a year ago, it has become more costly to import foods making them more expensive to put in your basket.
Labour MEP Alex Mayer said: “I love French food, so I’m delighted to be trying some gastronomic delights this Bastille Day. But I’m worried that without the same benefits of the Single Market after Brexit, our economy will suffer, which could spell an end to these tasty treats in Britain.”