CoR: Uncertainty over Brexit preventing regions from preparing for impact

A new report says that “uncertainty” surrounding the nature of the future EU-UK relationship “complicates the process of adjustment” for many EU regions when the UK exits the EU.

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

20 Mar 2018

A year ahead of the scheduled departure of the UK from the EU, the study, compiled by the Committee of the Regions and EUROCHAMBRES, complains about a “lack of awareness, information and preparation.”

The report, released on Tuesday, says, “This uncertainty is compounded in many cases by a lack of analysis of the likely impact on local economies.

“In turn, this restricts local and regional authorities’ capacity to formulate strategies to address the adverse effects of the UK leaving the EU on their economies.”

The findings of the report were released on Tuesday in Brussels, a day after the EU and UK announced that a draft withdrawal deal between the two sides had been agreed.

The aim of the CoR study was to analyse the impact of Brexit on regions and cities.

The report summarises the expected economic and social effects and the impact on public administrations.

It says there is a need for more “specific, localised” impact studies to get a “better understanding” of the potential impact of the UK exiting the EU at the end of March 2019 and of the “linkages across and between business sectors.”

Awareness raising and information sharing will further help businesses, notably SMEs, to be better prepared to face the ensuing structural and economic adjustments, it concludes.

The study highlights the “importance of continued interregional cooperation between EU27 and UK regions post-Brexit and the need for territorial cooperation programmes and macro-regional strategies to share information and pool resources.”

Commenting on the findings, Michael Murphy, head of the Irish delegation in the CoR and also a member of Ireland's Tipperary County Council, said, “The results of both this report and the CoR’s territorial impact assessment show that there will be no winner from Brexit and that Europe’s local and regional authorities already know it.

“After the UK, Irish regions will be the most economically and socially impacted by Brexit because of their close relations and direct border with the UK. However, regions in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain also anticipate a severe impact.”

He added, “While still difficult to assess the precise consequences for each European region or city, it is already possible and necessary to take action at European level to counter negative impacts and soften the blow.”

Further comment came from Arnaldo Abruzzini, CEO of EUROCHAMBRES, who said, “The survey results show that chambers sense a greater exposure to the effects of Brexit. This is not surprising given that EU27 businesses will directly feel the additional friction in trade that will result from the UK leaving the EU customs union and single market.”

He added, "We must now seek to minimise that friction, which requires precise quantitative and qualitative feedback, so it’s worrying that this process also reveals a lack of analysis in many regions of the specific effects of Brexit.

“This needs to be addressed swiftly if the EU27’s regions, cities and businesses are going to be well-placed to adjust effectively.”

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