31 March 2017


A 'pivotal moment in the country's history'

The CBI reacts to the Government’s triggering of Article 50

A 'pivotal moment in the country's history'

This Wednesday, nine months after the EU Referendum result, marked the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that officially sets the UK’s exit from the European Union in motion.

CBI President, Paul Drechsler, welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment in her Article 50 letter to free trade and European values, which should set a constructive tone at the start of the negotiations. The CBI has been clear that it is in the interests of businesses across Europe to work together in absolute determination to make a success of Brexit.

In his response, Paul outlined how crucial the first six months will be as the UK heads into these challenging and unprecedented negotiations. Paul highlighted in particular the importance of the government securing some early wins to set the UK on the right path, including:

  • Immediate action on the desire to guarantee the right to remain for EU citizens and UK nationals in Europe, which Paul noted all governments agree is desirable.
  • An implementation period to rule out cliff-edges for firms on both sides of the Channel.
  • New trading arrangements being discussed hand-in-hand with negotiating the UK's exit from the EU.

See our new interactive map of the priorities for other European countries.

The European Council has now drawn up draft negotiating guidelines for the European Commission, but the finalisation of these is expected to take a couple of months. The EU is also expected to ask the UK to pay an unconfirmed sum – potentially up to €60bn – to reflect the UK’s share of currently shared assets and liabilities.

The CBI has met with policy makers in 17 of the 27 member states since the turn of the year, and have visits planned to Rome, Copenhagen and Malta in the next six weeks. The organisation has been using these visits to understand how the UK’s actions are being viewed internationally, to find common areas of interest and to communicate the shared interest in agreeing a comprehensive deal. See the CBI’s new interactive map of the priorities for other European countries.

There are a number of ways for CBI members to stay up to date on the EU negotiations and our work on this issue. Find information on how to join CBI events, webinars, and receive email updates.