Britain could conceivably vote to leave the European Union in a few years’ time. So what? What would be the practical implications for businesses and how might you plan? Who should be interested?
- Companies with Belgian operations and operations or sales in the UK
- UK based companies with operations or sales in Belgium and the rest of Europe
The UK’s referendum on EU membership seems to be a near certainty for whichever government takes power after the next general election. While opposition parties are ambiguous as regards their vision for managing the UK’s future relations with EU partners, a strong performance by UKIP in the forthcoming European Parliament elections will strengthen demands for a referendum on EU membership.
Belgium and Britain are hugely important business and trading partners. Britain is Belgium’s 5th largest export market and Belgium is Britain’s 6th largest. Hundreds of companies in Belgium are British owned. While it remains unclear what precisely Britain wishes to renegotiate, the current government insists on the importance of retaining access to the Single Market for British businesses. Therefore, does it matter for Belgian and non-UK businesses in general, with close commercial ties to Britain, that the UK is likely to renegotiate its treaty terms in future or may even contemplate its complete exit from the EU? How can companies with their operations based in Belgium best prepare for potential changes in the nature of the UK’s terms and conditions for trading with its EU partners? Will such changes impact on Britain’s attractiveness as a prime location for investment in Europe?
These and other questions will be under the spotlight during this event where the following speakers will present major issues of concern to senior business representatives:
Mark Boleat is Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London Corporation, a position he has held since May 2012. He has been an elected member since 2002 and has held a number of other senior positions in the Corporation. Mark is also Deputy Chairman of TheCityUK (the promotional body for the UK financial services industry), and the International Regulatory Strategy Group, a Vice Chairman of London Councils, Chairman of Central London Forward (a grouping of eight inner London Authorities) and a member of the board of London and Partners, the promotional body for London.
Paul De Grauwe is John Paulson Professor at the London School of Economics. He was a member of the Belgian parliament from 1991 to 2003. He is honorary doctor of the University of Sankt Gallen (Switzerland), the University of Turku (Finland), the University of Genoa and the University of Valencia. He is a research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels and area director “Macro, Money and Finance” at CESifo in Munich.
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