The Europe Direct Contact Center has been inundated with calls | European Union
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Brexit anxiety has led to a surge in calls to the EU’s information hotline.
By Florian Eder
Updated 4/5/19, 5:33 PM CET
If you’ve got a question about Brexit, who you gonna call?
Perhaps the Europe Direct Contact Center (EDCC), the EU’s citizen information service, which has experienced a surge in popularity amid growing anxiety over Brexit.
In the first three months of this year, the EDCC fielded as many Brexit-related questions as they received in all of 2018, according to Jens Mester of the European Commission’s communication department, which oversees the center.
The uncertainty surrounding the U.K.’s planned departure from the EU — with no consensus in the House of Commons on how or when Britain should leave — has many citizens from across the EU seeking urgent advice.
Last year, 109,000 EU citizens contacted the EDCC by phone and mail, with an average of around 200 calls a day. When POLITICO visited the EDCC’s Brussels headquarters on a recent afternoon, two hours before the center closed shop, a display tallied 204 calls taken for the day.
“With pets, it’s always complicated. With Brexit, even more so” — Martina Micallef, communications officer
“People call frantically, panicking sometimes,” said Martina Micallef, a communications officer. “We do our best to keep them calm.”
Questions cover a wide range of subjects. Some callers from the U.K.