On June 23, Great Britain voted to leave the European Union, in what is referred to as the “Brexit” Referendum. The new Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced that the
U. K. would sign Article 50 of the E. U. Charter, which would initiate the separation process, in early 2017. Parliament is not required to abide by the Referendum; however, if it does, the Exit would be finalized in early 2019. In the interim, the wheels of change are already effecting many business and personal decisions.
Approximately half of all U. K. foreign trade is transacted with other E. U. member nations. Accordingly, goods and services are currently able to flow freely, within the E. U., without tariffs or even passing through border checkpoints. That would cease, of course, when Great Britain leaves the Union. Businesses would obviously need to determine, on which side of the Channel they should locate their various operations, in order to reduce tariffs and expedite the flow of business.
I believe that the people side of the equation will present more risk, especially since it might have a greater impact on the younger generation—Great Britain’s future! The Millennials are generally in the early stages of their careers and, thus, more flexible in moving to new jobs, and in assuming different challenges. Professional Europeans in the U. K. have probably already begun looking to transfer, or move to new positions, on the Continent. Likewise, many Britons have already begun considering ancestral citizenship in various E. U. member countries.
But, consider what Great Britain might be losing if it follows through in its proposed separation from the European Union? This younger pool of talent would tend to be highly-educated, professional and entrepreneurial types, who realize that their careers would have a greater chance of growth in the larger European Union. Unfortunately, they are exactly the “Next Generation” of business and government leaders, which the United Kingdom can ill afford to lose!