By John Lavallee
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“Since the advent of Brexit, the Channel coast has become a new European border region. In 2021, the fishing license crisis on the one hand and the crisis surrounding migrants seeking to cross the Channel on the other have shown how much geographical area could be difficult to manage, especially in our region”, notes a study by the Regional Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Ceser) in Normandy on the effects of Brexit.
He recommends that the Normandy region take control and recommends ” build a true Normandy strategy in the Channel areaespecially through the development of cooperation”.
In the absence of initiative at European and national level, the Normandy region has all the more interest in taking up such a strategic approach.
Ceseren assesses this in his analysis Normandy has suffered “no decisive negative effect” in terms of employment or its gross domestic product. That export from Normandy to Britain remained stablehe notes, thanks to “relative free trade” and logistical fluidity facilitated by the dematerialization of the customs declaration system.
Only the fishing sectorfor Caesar, found himself disturbed in 2021 with the tensions surrounding licensing.
It is sociocultural domain which today appears much more shaken than the economic field, with the most telling symbol, the disappearance of the Erasmus system, which practically closes the doors of the United Kingdom to European students.
” Compared to friendly and cultural exchangesthey are hampered by bureaucracy and by the disinterest of the British government”, the Ceser report also underlines.
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What then might be the contours of this Norman strategy? Cesare suggests first restore partnerships within higher education and research, promote exchanges between the Norman establishments and the British economic world and develop support from local authorities student mobility to and from the UK.
It is also a question of “winning back the British tourist clientele” and re-inscribing Normandy in the “mental map” of the British, also of organizing non-institutional meetings through the Normandy Attractif agency.
Caesar insists on the need to put Normandy at the center of a network of several collaborations, towards the North Sea, with the regions of Brittany and Hauts-de-France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Interreg North Sea programme. It also insists that the regional fisheries committees must adopt cooperation between French sea areas.
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