View from the German-British Chamber on the Brexit Situation, with links to key information sources.
Director's Letter - February 2018
Brexit negotiations will not become easier and let’s hope that the port of Dover will remain open for business on 30 March 2019
Two weeks ago a new grand coalition government was agreed by Germany’s Christian Democrats, their Bavarian sister party and the Social Democrats. However, the final say on it rests with the members of the Social Democratic Party. Whether they will agree to forming another coalition government with Angela Merkel is by no means certain. Should the party members reject the proposals, we would be back to the drawing board and Germany would enter a further period without decisive leadership. The latter also appears to be lacking in the UK, and with two major European governments suffering from this condition, Brexit negotiations – at least in the short run – will not become easier. The front cover of our forthcoming magazine, initiative, shows the port of Dover and we sincerely hope that in a year’s time the picture will be the same and that we will not see a clogged up port as a result of a no deal outcome because political leaders were unable negotiate constructively. Many on the British side had always hoped that Germany would “put in a word” for the UK so that she would get a more favourable deal than otherwise. Whether this hope was ever justified is impossible to know. If the members of the Social Democratic Party reject the coalition agreement, the political landscape in Germany will see further upheaval, and we might see a new election or a different Chancellor. Such prolonged uncertainty would not be good for Germany and the EU, as strong and stable leadership from Europe’s largest economy is important in these testing political times.
Northern EU Chambers
An alliance of northern European Coastal Chambers accounting for 70% of EU-UK trade urge British and EU negotiators to create clarity on a future trade friendly relationship as soon as possible now that sufficient progress has been made.
The Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce represented by Voka - Flanders Chamber of Commerce and BECI - Brussels Chamber of Commerce, the British Chambers of Commerce, Chambers Ireland, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Netherlands-British Chamber of Commerce have today handed over a joint statement to the British and EU Brexit negotiators. They urge the British and EU negotiators to strive for a breakthrough in the first phase of the negotiations to ensure talks on transition and the future EU-UK trade relationship can start as soon as possible.
Countries from the northern European coastal area have always maintained exceptionally good trade ties. Trade between the United Kingdom and the other 6 European Union countries in this area amounted to 344bn EUR in 2016, accounting for 70% of the total EU-UK trade. The English Channel, located in the middle of the North Sea area, is for example the world's busiest shipping lane, with more than 500 vessels passing through the strait on a daily basis, as well as being a key transport link between the EU and Ireland. A sudden and chaotic disruption of trade in this region would have a substantial economic impact that should not be underestimated.
The northern European Coastal Chambers were therefore pleased to learn last Friday that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Brexit negotiations. The Northern European Coastal Chambers now call on the United Kingdom and the European Union to move on to discussing the outlines of a future trade friendly EU-UK relationship that fully respects all aspects of the integrity of the Single Market as soon as possible.
The northern European Coastal Chambers also believe a realistic transition period is needed to provide time for companies to adapt to the new EU-UK trading relationship. A status-quo like transition period - announced with sufficient notice - ensuring the UK remains in the customs union and the Single Market for the duration of the transition period, with all the appropriate rights and obligations, would be best to provide business with the highest possible degree of certainty and predictability.
German-British Business Community
Results of the 2017 Brexit Survey of the members of the German-British Business Community
More than 60% of the members of the German-British business community think the likely effect of Brexit on future investments by their companies in the UK will be negative.
30% even think their decrease in investment will be greater than 10%. By contrast only one in twenty (5%) think Brexit will have a positive impact on their future investments in the UK.
For a full analysis of the survey, please click here.
Ireland, Germany & the EU
September 2017 - Meeting the Brexit Challenge
Ireland is the only EU member state to share a land border with the UK - where Northern Ireland meets the Republic of Ireland.
There is free movement of people and goods across this border. 30,000 people cross the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland every day to work or visit family and friends.
The German- Irish Chamber of Industry & Commerce has published a report on Ireland's connection with Brexit, with a focus on Northern Ireland and the impact Brexit will have on this section of the United Kingdom.
For German companies with links to businesses in Northern Ireland, it is important to stay abreast of developments in this area.
German Irish Brexit Report 2017
Information for EU Citizens
From the European Commission:
What are your EU citizenship rights?
"As a national of the United Kingdom or any other EU country – you are automatically also an EU citizen."
Further details and information
From the UK Government:
Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know
"There is no need for EU citizens living in the UK to do anything now. There will be no change to the status of EU citizens living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU."
Further details and information
Post-referendum German-British business community
December 2016 - The German-British business community hopes for a soft Brexit, but majority expects a hard Brexit
A majority of companies of the German-British business community (56%) believe that in the medium term Brexit will be negative for their business, according to a survey by the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce in 2016.
Post-Referendum Survey Graphics