Letter From Nanette — Or How Brexit Came Home

Just back from Fosdem, where thousands of people from all over the world came together to celebrate Free Software and to work together towards one goal, I found a letter from the Dutch Customs Office on my desk.

I’ve been following the Brexit news, of course, learning how for the past decades plutocrats have used right-wing media to spread lies about the European Union, how the Leave campaign was financed in illegal ways, how basically it was people who were hurt most by the dumb idea of austerity who voted leave (on that topic, read “Austerity, the History of a Dangerous Idea” by Mark Blyth) and how this was the inevitable consequence of trying to keep two opposing camps in one political party.

And now Brexit came to me, in person. The letter Nanette van Schelven, General Director of Customs sent me, tells me I’ve been doing business with the UK, which is true, though I had never realized it, thanks to the friction-less trade we have in the EU. We order the Krita usb sticks from Flashbay, which is a UK company, even though the website is in Dutch and uses the .nl top-level domain.

So, I’ve been going through the Brexit preparedness website, which is admirably thorough. Apart from importing USB sticks, for now, whether there’s a deal or not, the Krita trademark will hold in the UK, until it’s time to renew it in the EU.

For the usb sticks, it turns out that I would have to get an EORI number, register with the Dutch Customs Office, and get import permits. That’s a bit much, for a box of usb sticks… So, after Brexit, we won’t do that anymore, and find a different supplier.