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Analysis

Paris and Amsterdam say: ‘Thanks, Brexiters!’

by Luke Lythgoe | 21.11.2017

Britain’s economic prospects and international standing continues to be knocked by Brexit. Here are six recent examples.

Au revoir, agencies

And indeed, vaarwel! A complicated Brussels bidding process has decided the London-based European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be relocated to Paris and Amsterdam respectively. Almost 900 EMA staff and over 100 EBA staff, mostly high-skilled EU nationals, and their families will make the move across the Channel. It’s a hit for London’s scientific and financial prestige, as well as its economy. The agencies act as magnets to their industries. For example, EMA hosts an estimated 36,000 scientists and national regulators each year.

China eyes Airbus

The design and manufacture of Airbus wings, one of the crown jewels of British industry, is at risk of being nabbed by China thanks to Brexit. Every part is exported into the EU and would be hit by any extra border friction and customs costs, Airbus UK’s Katherine Bennett told MPs. The company already makes wings in China, and the Chinese – along with several other countries – are “knocking at the door” in a bid to capitalise on the UK’s Brexit confusion. Airbus employs 15,000 people in the UK.

Paris banking on a Brexit boost

The EBA announcement was accompanied by Goldman Sachs’ chief executive confirming the bank would have two new EU hubs after Brexit – Paris and Frankfurt. While careful not to mention staff numbers moving from London, Lloyd Blankfein suggested Paris could do particularly well, saying he could imagine “many Americans would prefer to live in Paris than in Frankfurt for many reasons”, and praised Emmanuel Macron’s drive to reform France’s economy.

Week’s wages lost

Meanwhile, ordinary Brits have lost a week’s worth of wages thanks to inflation caused by the devaluation of the pound after the Brexit vote. Higher prices mean an average worker’s annual pay has been cut by £448, according to a report by the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance. The wage squeeze will lead to the first drop in Christmas spending in five years, according to research compiled by IHS Markit for Visa.

Tech trauma

Hundreds of people have rejected jobs at UK tech start-ups due to uncertainty over their status following the Brexit vote. A third of entrepreneurs reported losing a prospective hire since the June 2016 vote, according to a survey by industry body Tech London Advocates.

Animal pain amendment gets thumbs down

And finally, bad news for animal lovers as MPs voted to reject carrying over into UK law an EU text on animals feeling pain or emotion. This happened as part of the ongoing Withdrawal Bill battles in Parliament, as the government tries to bring EU laws onto the UK statute book in time for Brexit. They argued that animal sentience was already covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The RSPCA disagrees, calling the decision “shocking”.

See last week’s round-up of the toll Brexit is taking here.

Clarification: The section on animal pain was changed to make clear that it was an amendment to the Withdrawal Bill that MPs rejected rather than the idea that animals feel pain and emotion.

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Edited by Hugo Dixon

10 Responses to “Paris and Amsterdam say: ‘Thanks, Brexiters!’”

  • The EU should not be treating Brexit as a foregone conclusion. They must surely agree to cancel the relocation if Britain sees sense in time and changes its mind.

  • I am afraid that we need to see the consequences of these events and even more pain before people can be convinced that leaving the EU was a bad idea. There seems to be a disconnect between what people hear about the economy and their day-to-day lives. As Brexit bites the connection will become clearer. Perhaps then there will be a chance for a public changing-of-mind. So, unfortunately, we need to see something like a major manufacturer making clear plans to leave.
    Fervent Brexiters are terrified of this opportunity to rethink, hence their enthusiasm to write into law the leaving date.

  • Why would the EU reverse it’s decision to move the agencies? Same as industry, there needs to be some certainty regarding the willingness of UK to commit to the European cause beyond the simple economic gain. In all the discussions re brexit I do not see any arguments except the economic ones gaining any traction in the up.

  • George-

    “As Brexit bites..the public will change their mind” I wish i could believe that.

    Ask people in Ethiopia or any of the poor countries whether they feel poor, and they will tell you no, they feel normal. Britons are already 15% poorer due to the devalued currency, and no-one appears to have noticed.

    Essentially we are living in a fools paradise, soothed by the daily opium of the Brexit press which convinces Britons every day that their prison cell is a palace. There isn’t even a mention of these losses of regulatory agencies on Google news, because at least half of it echoes the Daily Mail. Until this situation changes, I can’t see how the pubic can be galvanised.

  • I went on a course at the EMS at Canary Wharf. There was not a single British person I came across, from Reception to 2 x Course Trainers. Even the caterers were foreign! So I wouldn’t worry about job losses at this establishment too much. The language for the pharmaceutical/clinical trial sector is officially English, so this may create jobs for Brits in Amsterdam, who knows?

  • To Denise:
    Yes, more job opportunities in Amsterdam, except in the case of UK nationals, even if they don’t need to apply for a work visa, they will be treated as from a third country and so will be way down the queue.

  • How did you know they weren’t British? Did you ask to see all their passports?
    There are a huge number of jobs linked to these agencies, it’s not just the peope who directly work in there.

  • Do you really think Britain is worried about the banking world heading to Europe it will never happen. Britain will be far better off after brexit in every aspect. All this doom and gloom and worry about getting our sovereignty back and trading easier around the world is pathetic. 90% of this Media is spin Britain will carry on regardless as we’ve always done and more and more people will want to trade with us. The EU will fail not Britain. Within 20 years the EU will not exist as a political Force.