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>> Brexit talks look tough enough when it's Britain versus the EU 27, but it could be a whole lot more complicated than that. Some of Europe's assertive regions are ready to get tough about what they want. I'm Reuters' Jacob Greaves in Zeebrugge port, part of Flanders in Belgium.
It's a region that accounts for 87% of all the trade the country does with the UK. But it's also an area that carries significant economic and political clout over Belgian's central government. And it's one thing this influential region wants above all, a tariff-free trade deal.>> Flanders will be hit most after Ireland by what we call a hard Brexit
>> That goes for the movement of everything, from cars and pharmaceuticals, to fish. The region's head of commerce says no deal equals Flemish job losses.>> 42,000 people that is threatened by a hard Brexit here. And for our companies it's a disaster, point over.>> Belgium's federal status, three regions with their own powerful parliaments.
One has already set a precedent for holding up international talks. Last year a protectionist Wallonia temporarily blocked an EU/Canada trade deal against the wishes of Belgium's government. Right now no region has broken national ranks over Brexit. But in Flanders, a more UK-friendly idea is being floated that you won't hear from any EU spokesperson.
A trade deal plus, that will give post-Brexit UK firms privileges not afforded to other non-EU countries.>> We should be inventive, maybe something like the agreement with Norway. Not exactly the same because free movement is very sensitive.>> That might go down well in London, but other regions in Europe may have very different ideas.
And as Britain's exit gets closer, their voices could go louder. After all, Belgium and therefore the EU can't ratify any trade deal without them.