13 July 2016

Preparing for Brexit

The UK voted in favour of Brexit, which means that the UK is likely to leave the EU at some point. The when and the how remain unknown, but several options can be expected. Any agreement between the EU and the UK concluded as a part of this Brexit may affect markets that our clients are active in. Once notice under Article 50 TEU is given, negotiations on these agreements between the EU and the UK will start. That is when companies should try to influence the decision-making process and those parts of the agreements relevant to their industry. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit makes it difficult to make strategic decisions right now because of all the unknowns surrounding the exit. But clients can prepare for these negotiations by identifying what their interests are in any of several Brexit scenarios. Click on read more for additional background and suggested action points.

We set out some potential models for a Brexit in our Brexit Q&A. All models are based on negotiable trade agreements between the UK and EU. These can affect businesses, and may trigger several restrictions. For a business, lobbying is an essential aspect of influencing the decision-making process and trying to limit negative effects and restrictions. If you are not at the table, you’re on the menu.

Stay informed. The daily Brussels Playbook by Politico.eu is an excellent way to stay updated on developments in Brussels, as it summarises the goings-on and what should be monitored. During uncertain times, this daily update proves an effective way to keep up to speed.

Identify interests and decide on priorities now. Delegating this task to a Brexit taskforce in the company is extremely helpful and will enable companies to hit the ground running as soon as the actual Brexit negotiations start.

Liaise with national or European trade associations and build coalitions with other companies. Coalitions can be extremely effective. However, an individual lobby may also be necessary since coalitions may need to compromise.

Spend time in Brussels. Lobbying does not only happen in scheduled one-on-one meetings. Conferences and social events are equally important.

Don’t forget your home country. Lobbying at the national level may also be an effective way to influence the decision-making process in Brussels. This can be achieved through trade associations, regulators and, of course, national governments. The European Council is likely to play an important role in the Brexit negotiations on the EU side.