Supporting industry and supporting the sectors is supporting job creation and by consequence wealth creation. A simple logic that requires, in its most basic needs, two things: 1) clarity and 2) certainty. Ceemet, the European Tech & Industry Employers organisation, has since 2016 reminded both negotiating parties of these needs.
Time is of the essence, as business needs certainty, and in the worst-case scenario, ample time to adjust. In the absence of a clear vision of the future EU and UK relationship, a time limited extension of the transition period would at least give business, particularly SMEs, time to adjust to the possible new realities which face them post-Brexit.
The priority of the European tech & industry sector is the protection of the -globally- integrated supply chains. The ability to employ and deploy across Europe and ensure a level playing field in regulations are vital.
Seeing the Withdrawal Agreement confirmed to intensify the negotiations on the Future Partnership, delivers the clarity European industry leaders call for.
The absence of certainty hampers investments the innovative sector needs to remain competitive on an international level.
Therefore, Ceemet could support a compromise which extended the current proposal of a 21-month transitional phase to a more realistic timeframe, looking at the reality of the time needed for businesses to prepare, develop and implement new business models.
The 21-months already set out in the Withdrawal Agreement does not leave sufficient time to both agree the Future Relationship and allow companies the time to adapt. The timetable should be driven by the time necessary to conclude an agreement on such a complex trading relationship. Following this both sides should stand ready to agree an additional implementation period to allow industry the time to implement any changes.
Industry understands that one of the remaining issues for the Withdrawal Agreement is the impasse in agreeing a mutually acceptable backstop for the Northern Ireland border. While we recognise that both sides have committed to delivering a Future Economic Partnership that will hopefully mean that the backstop is not ever enforced. It is clear that the negotiations cannot progress without an agreement on this point.
European Tech & Industry Employers call on negotiators to look at a compromise which would provide additional certainty to businesses in both the UK and the EU 27 and would allow for time to negotiate an agreement on the Future Relationship. It is important that any compromise does not jeopardise the single market, upon which the EU has gone from strength to strength.
You can find more information in the 10 Point Plan for a competitive industry sustaining social Europe and in an opnion piece by Ceemet's Director General Uwe Combüchen in Euractiv