Generation Brexit

Theresa Maybe? - Clear Guidance is What We Need!

by
Felix O
Felix O | Nov 28, 2017 | in UK's and EU's Common Future

No report about the current state of the world - whether economic, political, financial – misses the word “uncertainty”. This was one of the sincerest problems before the referendum and unfortunately, it has not vanished since. Nobody – not well-networked businesses, not international organisations, not the people of Europe or Britain – knows what the next two years will actually bring us. The UK has committed itself to withdrawing its membership from the EU and the invoking of Article 50 has set us a timer – but this is pretty much all that is certain in this process.

 

In the past couple of months, we’ve seen speculations about the hardness of a Brexit, ranging from diamonds to wadding, sometimes a deal is absolutely necessary, sometimes “no deal is better than a bad deal”. What happens if no agreement is reached? Will there be a transition time? Will EU citizens be able to work in the UK after March 2019? These speculations are not columns in the FT (they appear there, too), but are to be heard on a regular basis from the UK government itself. By not revealing their own assessments about the impact of Brexit on the UK, Whitehall only adds fuel to the flames.

 

And this uncertainty doesn’t help anyone. The above questions are absolutely necessary for anybody who is affected, because we all need to plan ahead. Companies need to figure out whether they have to revamp their trade relationships with Europe or open up new subsidiaries on the other side of the channel. EU citizens want to know whether they should start looking for a job at home. Students want to know what fees they will have to face in a few years’ time. Preparing for all outcomes, which includes preparing for the worst possible scenarios, takes up time, effort, resources. A deadweight loss for an economy that is already growing at its lowest pace since 2013. If businesses are left waiting in the rain, they’ll move to the EU. If markets don’t know what to expect, the GBP bounces up and down – as seen over the last 18 months.

 

We know that both the EU and the UK want a successful and mutually beneficial outcome for all those involved. So why not play with open cards: all stakeholders have a right to know where negotiations are leading to and what both the UK and the EU want to achieve at the end of the day. The utmost priority has to be a firm agreement setting the cornerstones of Brexit, one that people can rely on and that happens soon. All the details are secondary.

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