Andreas Brugger DFHV

DFHV boss Andreas Brügger speaking at the German Fruit & Vegetable Congress

One of the leading representatives of the fresh produce industry in Germany has spoken about widespread disappointment among colleagues over the result of the recent referendum on the UK’s future membership of the European Union.

Andreas Brügger, chief executive of German industry association DFHV, said that while there would probably not be much of a direct impact on the German fruit and vegetable business, people in the country’s produce trade remained disheartened by what they regarded as a backward step in terms of European integration.

“We are very, very sad about the result of the referendum on Brexit,” said Brügger. “From our perspective, the economic impact for the German fruit trade won’t be serious, for two reasons.

“Firstly, the volume of fruit traded between the UK and Germany is quite low, and at the same time we can expect that in future bilateral trade agreements will allow for a smooth exchange of goods.”

The wider political impact, which he expected would take a longer time to become apparent, will probably be much worse, Brügger argued.

“Britain traditionally stands for free trade and open economic policy. We’re going to lose those positive influences, as well as the fundamental freedoms of the EU internal market – namely the free movement of people and services.

“For the younger generation especially, it is a disaster if the doors to cross-cultural exchange are no longer open.”