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A merry or not so merry Brexmas

Friday, November 18, 2016 - 01:51

German markets have become a staple on British high streets at Christmas but will Brexit make it harder for them to trade here in future? Reuters Emily Wither reports from the opening of the Frankfurt Christmas market in Birmingham.

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We may be none the wiser on a Brexit timetable. But it hasn't hampered Christmas celebrations in central England where the countdown to Christmas has officially begun. The market is part of a partnership - between Birmingham and Frankfurt that's spans half a century. They've been together longer than Britain and the EU. And the man behind organising the 140 stalls here says they're not breaking up any time soon. SOUNDBITE (English) KURT STROSCHER, ORGANISER, FRANKFURT CHRISTMAS MARKET, SAYING: It will be more difficult after Brexit ... if it is there and I think then we will have regulations between Germany or the EU and Great Britain that it is possible not to work too difficult. Organisers insist it's business as usual but it may be a tougher sell in years to come. If the British government has to impose visa and permits, stall holders - like Tom - may decide it's not worth the hassle. They're considering taking the business to somewhere like Spain next year. SOUNDBITE (English) TOM BUNTE, STALL WORKER, SAYING: A lot of stall holders will say okay that's it. I mean my boss has already started thinking about to stop it here especially after the Brexit so there are also other people thinking about that. SOUNDBITE (English) MONICA VANDERMEER, STALL WORKER, SAYING: Yes we are, we are very worried, because you don't know what the future brings. The Germans feel bad for the English people, it's the same like we feel bad for the Americans with er, Donald Trump. Despite the June referendum people are still spending. British retail sales rose at their fastest annual rate in more than 14 years in October. And while the city of Birmingham may have voted to leave the EU organisers are keen to stress its friendship with Frankfurt hasn't lost its sparkle.

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A merry or not so merry Brexmas

Friday, November 18, 2016 - 01:51