On 3 June 2015, the Brunswick Group together with the British Embassy in Vienna, UK Trade & Investment and the Austro-British Chamber hosted a panel discussion titled “The new UK government: What can European businesses expect”.
The event took place at the Residence of H.E. the British Ambassador to Austria, Susan le Jeune d'Allegeershecque. Bronwen Moore – Head of UK Trade & Investment introduced and moderated the panel comprising of Susan le Jeune d'Allegeershecque (Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to Austria), Susan Gilchrist (CEO, Brunswick Group) and Paul Schmidt (Secretary General of the Austrian Society for European Politics).
The British general election brought about one of the most unpredictable and surprising election results. Prime Minister David Cameron has won a second five-year term in office as the Conservative Party earned a six-seat majority in Parliament. As a new cabinet was recently formed, the panel gave an overview of the impact of the Conservative-led government on European companies and markets.
All panelists agreed on a positive outlook for European businesses, endorsing existing as well as newly formed business relationships. While the panel predicted that British voters would vote to stay in the EU, there was consensus on the need to dispel any doubts regarding the UK’s commitment to the Union, sooner rather than later. On the high stakes of the referendum for businesses, Brunswick CEO Susan Gilchrist stated that “For UK business a referendum creates uncertainty, and many companies will be called on to voice their opinion one way or another. Companies ought to tread carefully and be mindful that anything they say will position them within the political debate.” The British Ambassador emphasized Prime Minister David Cameron’s position saying “Britain would benefit from being in a reformed EU but reforms are in everyone’s interest in order to increase competitiveness and put Europe back on the map.” Secretary General of the Austrian Society for European Politics Paul Schmidt added: “I also see the UK within the European Union, but I would like to see more opt-ins rather than opt-outs.”
There were numerous contributions and questions from the audience. The panellists agreed that in 2020 the EU will be a stronger, more prosperous and cohesive union with the UK as an integral part of it.
About Brunswick Group
Brunswick is an advisory firm specializing in critical issues and corporate relations. Founded in 1987, Brunswick is an organically grown, private partnership with 23 offices around the world.
Brunswick Austria & CEE GmbH, Vienna
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