On 21 March 2019 the NBCC Brexit Forum: “Brexit – State of the Play” took place at Clifford Chance in London exactly on the day that the European Council discussed and adopted the extension to the Article 50 negotiating period. The objective of this event was to update our members and guests as fully as possible on the context of the political uncertainties surrounding the UK exiting the European Union.
We were delighted to host the UK Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Robin Walker, as keynote speaker.
Please find extracts of his speech below:
“We are leaving the European Union, we are not leaving Europe and the deal firms up the basis for a brilliant future relationship. And the Netherlands, one of our closest friends, will stand to benefit.
The deal ensures continuity for businesses that operate in both countries. This is crucial: the UK is the second largest export market for the Netherlands worldwide, while the Netherlands is the UK’s fourth largest export market. Bilateral trade between our two countries is worth billions per year.
In addition to providing certainty for businesses, the deal will protect the rights of our citizens. There are 80,000 Dutch nationals living in the UK and 50,000 UK nationals in the Netherlands. The deal on the table will enable families who have built their lives together in the EU to stay together. And gives assurances about residence, healthcare, pensions and other benefits.
I know there is much anxiety around what happens in a no deal scenario. Regardless, the UK will continue to put citizens first in any scenario. We have communicated our unilateral offer to EU citizens in the UK which confirms that those here, will be able to stay, access benefits and services as they do now. The Government is urging all its Member States to commit to protecting the rights of UK citizens in their countries. And I am pleased the Netherlands has published detail on their offer to UK nationals in the EU which ensures that their rights will be protected.
The long-standing UK-Dutch relationship will endure long after we have left the European Union. The intertwined and robust relationship between the UK and the Netherlands will remain.”
Further insights were provided by renowned experts on issues such as the divisions in the UK political landscape, expectations in relation to the position of the European Council, the impact of Brexit on the role of Europe in the world, the chances of a no deal, the state of contingency planning on both sides of the Channel, just to name a few.
All of the above mentioned experts took part in the invigorating Q&A sessions. In addition to the Undersecretary, our speakers provided valuable up-to-date information: Philip Souta (NBCC/Clifford Chance), Jan-Willem Thoen (PwC), Tim de Wit (NOS), Rem Korteweg (Clingendael), Charles Grant (Centre for European Reform), James Smith (ING), Janet Whittaker (Clifford Chance) and Leon Kanters (KPMG Meijburg & Co).
The NBCC looks back on a successful event with special thanks to Clifford Chance for sharing their premises to make it happen.