Supply chain

‘You alone to blame’: UK shortages seen from abroad | Supply chain crisis

gGovernment ministers may insist that it is ‘wrong’ to blame Brexit for fuel, food and labor shortages in Britain, but for the rest of Europe – and beyond that – there is only one reason the crisis in the UK is much worse than anywhere else.

“We are tempted to say to the British: ‘You just have to blame yourself'”, said Gabi Kostorz on Tagesthemen d’ARD, a leading German news program. “We tried to talk you out of it, but you decided otherwise. Now you have to face the consequences.

Der Spiegel agreed, saying the UK left the EU “to ‘take back control'” but now, with the promised post-pandemic economic recovery expected to begin, it appeared to be experiencing “the exact opposite: a unprecedented loss of control ”.

Perhaps the clearest outside view of Britain’s woes came, however, in a cartoon from The New Yorker. “The shortages are all British made and British owned,” Boris Johnson reportedly said. “And this is something we can be incredibly proud of.”

Britain was suffering more than most problems in the global supply chain, mainly because EU workers were gone and strict Brexit immigration rules meant that no one could now enter, a said Der Spiegel, creating labor shortages “wherever the work is hard, dirty and poorly paid”. .

Economically isolated, the country faces “an autumn of discontent for which Brexit is not the only reason, but an essential reason,” he said. “The government, however, insists that all of this has nothing to do with leaving the EU, defiantly sticking to its Brexit success story – even as its statements increasingly become weird. “

ARD’s Kostorz agrees. Oddly enough, she said, for the UK government, Brexit “is just not one of the possible causes. It is “Do not mention the B word”.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung also agreed that the most obvious shortage – of 100,000 truck drivers – was not just a consequence of Brexit. But by introducing a short-term visa regime for foreign drivers, he said, the government had “essentially admitted that leaving the EU was a deciding factor in the supply crisis.”

Besides, it would never work. “Why would a Romanian or Bulgarian truck driver come to the UK? They are also wanted in Germany, Belgium and elsewhere, “the paper asked, describing the expectation that” cheap labor from Eastern Europe will save Christmas at the push of a button, then disappear at the push of a button. new ”as“ shameful ”.

Boris Johnson’s bet, according to the newspaper, was that Brexit would show Britain controlled its borders and wages would rise. But if the British can’t fill their cars or roast a Christmas turkey, he “will have to find an answer to the question of why there is no shortage in France or Germany”.

It would be wrong, the New York Times also insisted, to blame a global crisis solely on Brexit. But, he said, there were “specific Brexit causes which are indisputable”. It wasn’t, he added, the first trade disruption to hit Britain since leaving the Single Market – remember the shellfish producers? – but it was “the first post-Brexit crisis that was not masked by the effects of the coronavirus”.

Significantly, he was also “geographically selective”, with no report of panic buying in Northern Ireland, which has an open border with an EU member state. Nonetheless, “Brexiteers invariably find other culprits for the bad news,” the newspaper said, and much of the UK media was more concerned with “the government’s competence to deal with the crisis” than the “obstacles. structural imposed by the new statute of Great Britain “.

CNN’s analysis was also that Britain was suffering much more than most countries “because of Brexit – or more specifically, the form of Brexit being pursued by the UK government, which introduced strict immigration policies. and withdrew Britain from the EU market for goods, making the task much more difficult. for UK companies to hire EU workers and much more costly for them to do business with UK’s biggest trading partner ”.

It didn’t have to be that way, the US broadcaster said: “Worker shortages, for example, were not an inevitable consequence of Brexit. But Britain’s post-Brexit immigration system was designed to reduce the number of unskilled workers coming to Britain. Sadly, “in four decades of EU membership many sectors have come to depend on a constant influx of labor.”

Spain’s El País highlighted the absurdity of the government’s “reluctance to accept that Brexit has anything to do with the fuel crisis,” while simultaneously offering temporary visas to the very workers that Brexit prevents from to recover ; and the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant said that for many the whole deplorable situation showed the “folly to leave the single market, with its free movement of goods and people”.

In France, Le Monde blamed a recent sharp deterioration in Anglo-French relations – on fishing rights and the Aukus security pact – directly on the rapidly growing, self-inflicted and largely Brexit-induced problems of the British government. .

“To conceal his own difficulties, the British Prime Minister is stepping up his attacks on Paris (…)” And he is not short of domestic problems. “

Mainly due to the “nationalist withdrawal from Brexit, which denies visas to EU workers, the shortage of truck drivers is affecting the supply of gas stations and supermarkets,” he said. “The Prime Minister, trapped by the isolation Britain voted for in 2016 but exacerbated by its chaotic short-termism, is looking for scapegoats.”

Liberation nods: “Hundreds of thousands of drivers, farm workers, waiters, plumbers and even doctors working in Britain with non-European passports have left, with no intention of returning,” he said in an editorial. “The shortages are getting worse from week to week.

So should France accede to Johnson’s request earlier this month to ‘give me a break’? “Go boil an egg, Boris,” replied Liberation, a French expression meaning “leave me alone.” At least, “if you can find eggs at the local supermarket.”

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