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What to tell your staff after #Brexit

As things stand today, Brexit will likely happen as a result of the 23 June referendum.




Apart from planning the first 100 days, here are a few ideas you may wish to discuss in an internal memo on 24 June:


    • Will you pull out of the UK? If your European headquarters are in London, or you have a significant number of employees in the UK, they will surely be wondering if you plan to keep it that way in the near-to-long term. How financial markets will respond to Brexit is anyone’s guess, but the possibility that ‘key players’ relocate to Frankfurt, Luxembourg or Paris is real.


    • Will the UK’s quitting the EU internal market affect your business? Most international companies do significant business in the UK, and your staff will likely ask whether a new bilateral trade agreement between the UK and the EU can lead to higher customs duties, import restrictions or other trade barriers that may trigger a decision to alter your business relations with the UK. (You may wish to read this in-depth analysis from OpenEurope.) .


    • Can staff still travel to or stay long-term in the UK without a visa? It depends on a few factors, for instance whether an employee is an EU citizen, duration of the stay or the purpose of the trip. From a practical, ‘single market’ perspective, this issue  affects the “freedom of movement of workers” scenario. This will likely be one of the most controversial chapters to (re)negotiate as the UK’s economy relies heavily on EU citizens as its workforce, so it’s too early to tell what new rules will be agreed to. For non-work-related travel and stays, given that the UK was never part of the Schengen Area, bilateral agreements will determine the rules on the basis of one’s citizenship —in other words, not much of a change.


    • Will we need to meet new product, service or regulatory rules and standards? This will surely not be an overnight change, but if the UK is no longer bound by the European body of law, it can set its own environmental, food safety, consumer protection and other rules. (For example, James Dyson, the innovator, would surely be happy that he’d no longer needs to meet EU energy labelling laws.) On the other hand, when exporting to EU countries, you will have to comply with all European laws. This can therefore have an impact on product, testing, safety or other compliance requirements even without the UK being part of the 27-nation bloc.


    • Will the EU and/or Eurozone fall apart? There will likely be emergency meetings to ascertain and contain the symbolic and real dangers of one EU member state leaving the club. Nationalist movements in France, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and other countries may be emboldened, but EU leaders will likely send a message via the UK exit negotiations that leaving isn’t worth it, making no concessions whatsoever. There is a chance of the EU’s inner core creating a stronger, more cohesive union, and a “two-speed Europe”will likely become a reality. The EU or the Eurozone disassembling is highly unlikely … for now.


Anything to add? An example to share? Let me know in the comments.


Posted in EU Affairs

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