Ireland the only country to identify Brexit as a significant challenge

A survey of European businesses, published today (30 November 2016) by EUROCHAMBRES, has revealed that Brexit is not considered a concern for most companies. The survey, which was conducted in autumn 2016 and had 50,500 respondents from across Europe, asked businesses to rank the main challenges they believed they faced in 2017. While Irish firms identified the impact of Brexit as the second biggest challenge to the development of their business after labour costs, only 9.6% of European businesses registered Brexit as a challenge at all.

Commenting on the results, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland and Deputy President of Eurochambres said, “This survey confirms that Irish businesses are feeling significantly more exposed to the impact of Brexit than businesses in the rest of Europe. According to Irish firms, Brexit will be the second most difficult challenge for them in 2017 with firms only identifying labour costs as a greater threat. While it is not surprising that Brexit is a priority for Irish business given our proximity to the UK and the importance of our trading relationship, it is alarming that businesses across Europe are not more concerned by the potential impact of the loss of the EU’s second biggest market.”

“We believe that this perspective will have implications for the approach adopted by member states to any future negotiations on the UK’s exit. If European businesses do not see the importance of maintaining close trade relationships with the UK, they are far less likely to support a pragmatic approach to negotiations.”

“From our engagement with our European partners we had anticipated this response. Other European countries are far more preoccupied with issues like the migrant crisis, climate change, Russia’s expansion into Crimea, and long term youth unemployment. We believe there is a role to play for Ireland’s business community to help our counterparts in Europe understand that unless a practical approach to Brexit negotiations is adopted, we all stand to lose out in terms of reduced economic growth, investment and jobs.”