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European businesses welcome Transition Period but need to know end state to prepare for Brexit

21 March 2018
by eub2 -- last modified 21 March 2018

The Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe (COBCOE) welcomes the Transition Period announcement on 19 March 2018 but warns that lack of detail about the end state and continuing uncertainty poses an economic risk.


Its new report launched today, 'Review of European Business Views on the Transition Period', reveals a high level of unpreparedness for Brexit, particularly among SMEs.

David Thomas MBE, Executive Chairman of COBCOE, said: "While we appreciate that progress has been made in agreeing the Transition Period which businesses need, there is overwhelming agreement among the participants in our research that the Transition Period must be to a known end state. An undefined end state will just prolong the uncertainty."

COBCOE's research was carried out among European business people through a series of roundtable discussions, an internet-based poll, and opinions of the heads of British bilateral chambers of commerce. The poll showed only a third of respondents making preparations for Brexit.

The qualitative research highlighted the difference in approach between SMEs and large companies in planning for Brexit. Given the sizeable contribution that SMEs make to the European economy, this represents a major risk factor for Europe's economic future.

"The UK Government should not be afraid to formally lay out its position on as many aspects of the withdrawal terms as possible" said Mr Thomas, adding "The EC needs to engage with European business and EU27 governments need to talk to the SMEs in their countries and provide support to help them plan for a post-Brexit Europe."

View and download the COBCOE report 'Review of European business views on the Transition Period'.

This report follows on from the research report 'Brexit – the Voices of European Business' published in September 2017.

COBCOE is the membership organisation for British chambers of commerce and business associations in Europe. With members in most countries across the region, COBCOE represents a unique network of around 12,000 businesses and is the only pan-European British business network.

Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe (COBCOE)
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