Posted on: 20 July 2016 By: TeamEuropages


The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (or Brexit) will have negative consequences for European businesses, where certain countries and sectors will be more affected than others. However, some EU countries could also turn the Brexit to their advantage. Here is a status report based on research by trade credit insurance company Euler Hermes.

Three countries are particularly impacted: The Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland. According to the Euler Hermes study entitled “Brexit: What does it mean for Europe”, three European countries are particularly impacted in 2017, namely the Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium. This assumption holds true based on both a soft leave scenario, where a Free Trade Agreement with the EU is in place, and on a hard leave scenario, where no Free Trade Agreement is signed.

The most affected by the Brexit are the Netherlands and Belgium given that they are major European trade hubs. For its part, Ireland stands to suffer since the United Kingdom is the second biggest market for exporters, with a high concentration of oil and higher value-added products (electronics, chemicals, machinery and equipment). For these three countries, the biggest losses would concern the automotive, machinery and equipment, chemicals, and agri-food sectors.

Impacts on Germany and France. The Brexit would also have a negative impact on two other EU countries given their high level of trade with the UK, namely Germany and France. The UK imports mostly intermediate goods from Germany, in particular vehicle components and machinery In a hard leave scenario, losses in the region of €2 billion for German automotive exporters, and €1 billion for machinery exporters, are anticipated. France would be impacted in a similar way as Germany, although to a lesser extent. The French sectors that would suffer the most are machinery, agri-food, and chemicals, each of which is expected to lose €0.5 billion by 2019 in a hard leave scenario.

Opportunities up for grabs. On the flip side, some EU countries could turn the Brexit to their advantage in the medium term by attracting British investors, whether they be first-time investors or those who have lost out as a result of the Brexit, depending on their sectors. According to the forecasts revealed by Euler Hermes, the following countries stand to benefit, by industry sector:

  • Ireland for pharmaceuticals, electronics and finance,
  • Spain, Slovakia and Poland for automotive,
  • Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic for machinery and equipment,
  • The Netherlands for financial services, high tech and transport,
  • France for aeronautics.

To take advantage of these opportunities and find a partner in these countries, remember to visit Europages!

9 Responses to “Brexit: what consequences for European businesses?”

  1. Kenneth Ferguson, OBE, FRICS.

    It seems to me that the worst impact of Brexit will be neutral on the economy the EU and the UK and is most likely to be very positive.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I provide professional services in Eastern Europe from Scotland, UK.

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