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27 June 2016

EU Referendum Result: European Perspectives

Written by: Stephanie Lvovich, Global Chair, Public Affairs at Edelman

Brexit, Government Affairs

As the fallout from Brexit continues to send shockwaves across the globe, companies are asking themselves what now? Given the highly volatile environment that Europe finds itself in today, there are a number of considerations that should be front of mind for business and business leaders. Whilst there are many unknowns, we believe that there are a number of public affairs related opportunities that arise from the Brexit vote that businesses should seek to leverage for as positive an outcome as possible.

The UK government will have to decide how much of the existing EU-based law it retains and how much it changes, across every sector. It will be a ‘decade worth of Queen’s Speeches’ in terms of the volume of laws to be reconsidered, given the legislation adopted in the UK that has originated in the EU. The UK government will open up many pieces of legislation for review, which presents an opportunity for clients to change legislation to better support their freedom to operate. The challenge will be that in order for the UK to continue to trade with the EU, its products/services will need to comply with EU legislation and there the scale of potential change is not yet clear. Clients should be identifying those pieces of EU-generated legislation that have been adopted by the EU that are particularly problematic for them and put together POV/argument as to why they should change, and how they should change.

Given the upcoming change in Conservative Party leadership and a new government, there will be an opportunity to shape the priorities and proposed legislation of the new government following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Finally, the British voice, POV and leadership on key pieces of EU legislation under consideration in Brussels currently will ultimately cease to exist. Resignations by UK members of the EU Parliament and Commission have already begun. Those clients seeking to manage EU legislation in process at the moment should factor in how this will change the dynamics of issue discussions and re-orientate their strategies accordingly, particularly in situations where the UK representatives have been leading.

In order to be best placed to leverage these opportunities, it is important that businesses take a proactive approach to communications, with a focus on the following over the next year as the situation continues to unfold:

• For those businesses that had expressed a view for either side of the debate, continuing to manage the message and business reputation is key in the weeks ahead. Not only your external facing messaging but also your employee communication will be key as concerns about what the business implications of Brexit reverberate.

• In both the UK and the EU expertise in managing an exit from the European project is limited and therefore any offer of assistance or support from business is going to be extremely welcome. Civil servants and bureaucrats in both the UK and Brussels will be looking for partners who can work with them on a range of issues.

• As the UK moves to finalise its settlement with the EU, businesses are likely to be widely consulted to best understand which Directives and Regulations are key for the business community and which are less relevant. Ensuring your business is ready with a strong viewpoint, based on your own business analysis, is going to be extremely important in the months ahead.

• Monitoring, understanding and analysis has never been more important. Ensuring your business has the right support to understand both what is happening but also how best to plan ahead of the cycle is going to be key as you move into the weeks and months ahead.

Edelman has prepared a full briefing with perspectives from our experts across Europe on the result of the EU Referendum, to read it please click here or see below.

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