Minimising disruption to business should be a priority for the UK and EU governments during the Brexit negotiations, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Certainty on EU citizens in the UK – and UK citizens in the EU, consideration of the UK-Irish relationship and ultimately a comprehensive new economic partnership between the UK and the EU are among the key considerations that must be taken into account, said the CBI.
Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors which together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of the private sector-employed workforce.
“These are the first steps in a complex process that will be full of twists and turns,” said Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General. “Business needs to see early progress to build confidence that we can secure a deal that will lead to prosperity for all.
‘Assurances should be within weeks, not months’
“In this light, recognition of the need to give EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU certainty is welcome, but business wants to see this happen within weeks, not months.
“It is also encouraging to see proper consideration of UK-Irish relationship and the desire to minimise disruption for businesses. These are early signals that will hopefully put us on the right path towards a good deal – which is in everyone’s interests.
“However, discussions on new trading arrangements should go hand-in-hand with negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU. We want this to happen as soon as possible, which is why the next six months are crucial.
“From our conversations with our sister federations across Europe we know that businesses are united in their desire to see a comprehensive new economic partnership between the UK and the EU. That united voice should make European policy makers sit up and listen on the need for maintaining close economic ties and ensuring a smooth transition.”