29 March 2017

  |  CBI Press Team

Press release

'Pivotal moment in country's history'

The CBI has commented on the triggering of Article 50 by the UK Government.

'Pivotal moment in country's history'

Paul Drechsler, CBI President, said:

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to free trade and European values which should hearten those around the table and set a constructive tone at the start of the negotiations.

“Today is a pivotal moment in our history and the time to be ambitious, level-headed and confident.

“It is in the interests of businesses across Europe to work together in absolute determination to make a success of Brexit.

“Our shared aim must be to forge a mutually beneficial deal that delivers barrier-free trade and safeguards prosperity for all. The Prime Minister has recognised this.”

On securing some early wins, Mr Drechsler said:

“The first six months are crucial as the UK heads into these challenging and unprecedented negotiations. Securing some early wins is therefore vital to set us on the right path.

“Most welcome of all would be the immediate guarantee of the right to remain for EU citizens here and UK nationals in Europe, which all governments agree is desirable.

“Businesses will welcome the upfront commitment to an implementation period to rule out cliff-edges for firms on both sides of the Channel – though more detail will be needed. Meanwhile, we must work constructively to design a means to maintain some influence over regulations affecting UK businesses in our biggest market.

“And discussing new trading arrangements should go hand-in-hand with negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU.

“It will be important to deliver on the commitment to include the devolved nations and all regions of the UK in the discussions.”   

On the role of business, he said:

“Business has a crucial role to play in making the economic case as the negotiations progress so we can be clear about the impact on real people, jobs and communities across the UK.

“We know there’ll be a lot of noise, which is why the CBI will continue to work closely with the Government and our partners across Europe to ensure the economic case is heard loud and clear.”