Joanna Denton of the British Chamber of Commerce, Delano’s Duncan Roberts, British ambassador to Luxembourg John Marshall and Brill’s Fiona Godfrey speak during “Delano Live: 10 months to Brexit”, 7 June 2018
Photo: Sébastien Goossens
“Is Brexit worth it?” was the big question at Delano Live, which took place on Thursday 7 June 2018. A panel of guest speakers was interviewed by Delano editor-in-chief, Duncan Roberts, to discuss the ever-shifting goalposts of the Brexit negotiations and ask, with 10 months to go, is the UK ready to leave the European Union?
“No Brexit is not worth it,” Fiona Godfrey, president of British Immigrants Living in Luxembourg (Brill), stated without hesitation, citing the rise in xenophobic incidents in the UK, as well as the uncertainty felt by UK citizens living in the EU as to what their status will be after the UK’s withdrawal.
For the British ambassador to Luxembourg, John Marshall, the Brexit referendum has been something of a baptism of fire as he took up his role in the grand duchy just two months before the UK voted to leave the EU. He sympathised with the uncertainty being felt by UK citizens living in Luxembourg, especially anyone providing cross-border services as, “So far, it looks like this will no longer be possible after Brexit.” However, he did also insist that, “We don’t want just any off-the-shelf third country agreement.”
Joanna Denton, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce, spoke from the business point of view, stressing that, although businesses need the certainty that is currently lacking, “Brexit is also an opportunity for Luxembourg in terms of business looking for an EU base.” However, she warned any such companies to take care of substance and regulatory issues.
As for whether the UK will be ready to leave the EU, a lot will depend on the result of the 12 June vote in the Houses of Commons. MPs are set to vote on the European Union Withdrawal Plan proposed by UK prime minister, Theresa May. It is hoped that the bill will bring some much-needed clarity, however it has already had a rough ride through the House of Lords, where it faced no less than 15 defeats.
With Labour promising to, “…end May’s reckless approach to Brexit,” in a recent statement and Tory rebels threatening to vote against their leader, clarity could still be a long way off. As ever, Delano will keep you informed.
Delano Live was organised by the Paperjam Club and sponsored by ING and The Big Beer Company.