Guest post: After Brexit British companies need new eyes and ears in Europe

By Benjamin Seifert, Managing Director, Deekeling Arndt/AMO

Brexit poses challenges to the government in Great Britain when it comes to realigning their relationship with the EU. And the same goes for companies – from family-owned SME’s to global market leaders. With its exit from the Union, Britain has lost its direct ability to influence key political and regulatory decisions in Brussels.

There are no longer any representatives or members in the Commission who can stand up for the interests of the United Kingdom and British companies. It has therefore become more difficult for the latter to position their interests in Europe. Especially after the bumpy rounds of negotiations in recent months, it has become significantly less probable that purely British interests will be received with open arms in Brussels by representatives of other countries.

Brexit has also led to a massive weakening of the interests of British companies at the level of the European member states. The pressure on the remaining member states of the EU in Brussels to come to agreements with self-confident representatives of Great Britain is no longer there. The result is that their position has been permanently weakened. At the same time, bilateral dialogue has become more important for British companies. Many more rules and regulations will have to be negotiated in future between the UK and the European capitals.

British companies lost their lobby in Europe

British companies have lost their political representatives and thus their lobby in Europe, so they must start doing this work themselves. They will need to ensure that political decisions made in Brussels do not have a negative impact on British interests. To achieve this they will have to look for allies in the political, economic and social spheres in EU capitals such as Berlin, Paris and Madrid – partners who will support them in representing both their European and national interests. No British company can afford to lose Europe.

Former British Ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, put it in a nutshell in the German news magazine Der Spiegel when he said the following: For Brexit to be a success, London would need “eyes and ears” everywhere in the EU. What is true for Her Majesty’s Government is also true for British businesspeople – they too will have to rebuild their presence in Europe after Brexit. If they don’t have a strong voice, whether that be through chambers of commerce, industry associations or their own representatives, they are at risk of losing their foothold in Europe. If British companies do not manage to take their own action to organise their needs and influence on regulatory decisions on the continent, they will become isolated. Without strong partners and “eyes and ears”, they will never be able to have a significant presence in a 27-nation Europe.

Deep understanding of how Europe works will be key to success

Approaching the right stakeholders, gaining access to political decision-makers and a deep knowledge of political processes and positions in the European nation states will become key to having any chance of being able to influence regulatory conditions in the EU. Companies need to gain access to decision-makers in national parliaments and governments, engage in events with other industries that are facing similar challenges, as well as thoroughly and reliably analyse political processes and trends in media.

In the AMO network, British companies will find strong and professional partners who can bridge the gap between London, Brussels and the capitals of the EU countries. Partners who have comprehensive knowledge of the processes and power dynamics as well as strong networks in all three political spheres.

With experienced teams in Brussels, London, the European capitals and the key financial markets, we offer European and national expertise in matters of policy, industry and society. We emphasise the British vision of continuing to be a driving factor in the European economic area. Post-Brexit, AMO ensures that British companies in the EU continue to have a voice.

AMO is the leading global partnership of corporate and financial communications consultancies.

Our best-in-class approach brings together local-market leaders with unrivalled knowledge of stakeholder perceptions, financial markets and cross-border transactions in the key financial centers of Europe, Asia and the Americas.

To find out more about the network, please do get in touch.

Get in Touch

Benjamin Seifert

Managing Director, Deekeling Arndt/AMO