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UK could be punished for leaving, suggests survey

by Stephen Kon | 10.06.2016

As we prepare for the EU referendum, campaigners on both sides talk of the options available to the UK if it left. Discussions over the relative merits of Norway, Switzerland and World Trade Organisation models assume the UK can simply choose its favourite from an extensive menu of choices. New independent market research we have conducted suggests that notion may be erroneous, and that the exit process could be both painful and protracted.

While Brexiteers argue that the remaining EU nations would be reluctant to damage relations with a market as important as the UK, our new survey of leading French, German, Spanish and Italian businesses suggests the opposite – and the findings are stark.  

The respondents – 300 senior in-house counsel from listed companies in the four countries – were generally in favour of negotiating a trade deal with the UK should it leave, but almost two-thirds said they would be less inclined to do business with the country, and 62% believed Britain should be penalised for its decision, for example by new customs duties or other barriers. Perhaps that is because 69% worry the UK might set a precedent for other countries to leave.   

These statistics highlight the improbability of an “amicable divorce” from the EU. They suggest the UK would be made to suffer for a Brexit decision. If the very fabric of the EU is threatened, it is in the interests of the remaining members to ensure that, if the UK is the first to leave the union, it is also the last.

Stephen Kon is Senior Partner at law firm King & Wood Mallesons, which conducted the research.

Edited by Jack Schickler

3 Responses to “UK could be punished for leaving, suggests survey”

  • It’s not only business dealer, a friendly divorce between UK and EU is also despiced by the majority of population in the same states. Polls (for what polls should be valued) ran in Italy and Germany, and also analogue french polls, show that a consistent part of the population would prefer to economically and politically penalize UK for its leaving.

  • It’ll be a financial mess if any penalty measures are implemented. The amount of goods we buy from Germany and France would then be reduced, who would loose most on that?