As you may recall from my previous post as well as the increased media coverage over the last week, the UK People voted in a Referendum and have decided to leave the European Union. The polls have been extremely close in the final days but the “Leave” vote has won the day by 4%.
This is therefore an historical day in the UK, but it should not be hysterical! The British wartime phrase of “Keep Calm and Carry On” is perfect for today. The decision which has been made is the start of a long process – the UK will now apply to leave the EU and the process is likely to take around two years. The existing European laws which are observed by the UK have been enshrined into domestic law and so NOTHING changes today. The UK government and judiciary now have an opportunity to review some of those laws and may over time make some changes, but these need debate, parliamentary approval and implementation. It is not possible to unilaterally make changes, so for those who are hoping the employment or data protection laws which cause much frustration when conducting trans-Atlantic business will immediately change, I’m sorry to announce that it needs to be business as usual.
The coming months and years will lead to some upheaval – not least in government, but the UK will remain central to doing business in Europe. Bear in mind that the EU is 28 (soon to be 27) member states – out of approximately 50 European countries and so there is much business conducted outside of the EU block (including with it). As with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, the UK will now need to negotiate its own trading agreements with the EU and other trading partners. However, it remains economically strong, a financial center and a key market for consumer and enterprise business.
Our website has lots of information around the legal impact if you’re interested in more detail and this will be updated as things change.
An historic day indeed.