“Should I stay or should I go?” This question was answered with 'Leave' by a majority of the British people during the EU-referendum on the 23rd of June 2016. Although the Netherlands would very much like the UK to stay, Brexit has become a reality and preparations for the consequences of this decision will have to be made.
Digital Gateway to Europe has released a report which examines the current state of affairs regarding Brexit and analyses actions that can be taken by the tech industry and which possible timelines should be taken into account. Key question is what the main challenges and opportunities regarding Brexit are.
Digital Gateway to Europe identifies four areas where the impact of Brexit for the tech industry will be most significant: access to the EU Single (Digital) Market, access to data flows, access to talent and access to EU-tax benefits.
Although much is still uncertain when it comes to the possible impact of Brexit, an exit of the UK from the EU Single Market and Customs Union is very likely. This means that there will be important changes regarding the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour across (online) borders.
Especially the financial and media industries are expected to be impacted, when rules-of-origin-principles and 'passporting rights' could be no longer valid. These industries will be further impacted by a possible restriction of data flows from the UK to the EU and vice versa, since this could damage (FinTech) innovation.
There is another pressing issue that many countries in the world are currently facing: lack of sufficiently qualified IT personnel. If the UK decides to tighten its immigration laws, access to IT-skilled specialists will become more restricted. With 25% of the UK digital and tech community highlighting sourcing talent as a major challenge (TechNation, 2017), this is of great importance for the sector.
Keep calm and come to Europe
"We are sad to see a country so akin to ours leave the European Union. However, Brexit is a reality: it will happen one way or another. When we assess the impact of Brexit on the digital sector and which areas will likely be affected the most, it quickly becomes obvious that the industry is actively informed about future challenges and opportunities," says Stijn Grove, Managing Director of Digital Gateway to Europe.
"Europe, and especially the Netherlands, offers a great alternative for the United Kingdom, with Amsterdam being the perfect London substitute, especially for the FinTech and media
industry. And from a business perspective, the Dutch and English mingle very well, as Anglo-
Dutch companies like Shell, Unilever and Reed Elsevier have shown. The British are very
welcome in Holland."
What will happen on March 29, 2019 - the day a member leaves the European Union for the first time in history - is largely unknown. With the Brexit-report, Digital Gateway to Europe informs digital and tech companies about the possible implications and helps the tech industry to prepare for possible outcomes. The United Kingdom might go out of the EU, but we very much hope that they will stay close to us in the future.
The Brexit-report 'Should I stay or should I go?' is freely accessible here.