27 June 2018

  |  CBI Press Team

Press release

Business and union leaders' joint appeal for Brexit progress

The heads of BusinessEurope, the CBI, the TUC and ETUC called for agreement on key issues including regulaltory alignment, frictionless trade and Northern Ireland. 

Business and union leaders' joint appeal for Brexit progress

Ahead of this week’s European Council meeting, the Directors General of BusinessEurope and the CBI, Markus Beyrer and Carolyn Fairbairn, and the General Secretaries of the ETUC and the TUC, Luca Visentini and Frances O’Grady have issued an unprecedented joint statement urging faster progress.

The organisations, which together represent 45 million workers and 20 million employers across Europe, met for the first time in London on 15 June to discuss Brexit.

The statement reads:

“We are calling on the UK government and the EU to inject pace and urgency in the negotiations, bringing about measurable progress, in particular a backstop arrangement to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

“Decisions will be needed in June and October to finalise the withdrawal agreement and the transitional arrangement, and put economic interests and people’s jobs, rights and livelihoods first.

“The UK government and the EU will need to agree on all aspects of regulatory alignment, which is of the utmost importance, without jeopardising the integrity of the single market.

“This must involve preserving value chains and avoiding non-tariff barriers to trade; finding a solution for intra-corporate transfer (ICT) arrangements; barrier-free and frictionless trade in goods and services; and a mechanism for agreeing a mutually acceptable level playing field for workers’ rights.

“Employers and unions have already developed a consensus on issues such as the need to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, and the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. We are calling on the UK and EU to consult us in a meaningful and more structured manner on a joint basis so that we can contribute to identifying and designing practical solutions that will work.

“The cost of disagreement between the UK and the EU would be dire for firms, workers and the communities where they live. Amid uncertain times, we appeal to negotiators on both sides to put jobs and prosperity before politics when seeking solutions that will matter for generations to come.”