Roundup: Associations React to British Brexit “Yes” Vote

The decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, which came about in a close vote, has many groups pondering their industries' future without the EU's backing. Here are just a few of the many that spoke up after the vote.

The global business community was already bracing for a potential Brexit, but the confirmation that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union doesn’t clear anything up.

For many organizations, the dramatic-but-close vote simply casts additional clouds on the world economy—especially after Prime Minister David Cameron, who put the referendum vote on the table as part of his last reelection bid, announced he would resign on Friday.

With the potential effects of the vote so far-reaching, it’s understandable why so many organizations wanted to have a say. Here are just a few comments that stood out:

The Scotch Whisky Association, whose membership has been a major beneficiary of the global reach of the European Union, warned that a vote to depart could severely hurt the industry—a pitch it also made two years prior, when Scottish independence was on the table. But now the group is attempting to remain strong amid the pending change. “The process of leaving the EU will inevitably generate significant uncertainty. Of course, we are confident Scotch whisky will remain the preeminent international spirit drink,” SWA’s chief executive, David Frost, said in comments to The Scotsman. However, he warned of “serious issues to resolve” regarding trade agreements and continued access to the European Union.

The Association of British Orchestras, which represents a significant part of the classical music world, raised concerns about how Brexit would affect public funding of the arts. “We will need the new leadership of this country to give us guarantees as to continued freedom of movement across Europe’s borders for our orchestras, artists, and orchestral musicians, and whether the many pan-European regulations that currently affect our sector–from VAT Cultural Exemption to harmonization of radio spectrum, Noise at Work to the Digital Single Market–will still apply,” the group said in a statement reported by Classic FM.

The Association of British Travel Agents says that the process of Britain leaving the EU remains fluid, but it shouldn’t have an immediate impact on travelers. “Until the UK officially leaves the EU, not sooner than two years’ time, there will be no changes to holiday arrangements,” ABTA said in an FAQ released Friday. “Travelers are as free to move between the UK and the EU as they were before the vote, European Health Insurance cards remain valid, and regulations such as Air Passenger Rights remain in place.” However, one change that will likely affect travelers, admits ABTA, is the decrease in the value of the pound, which it says will impact their spending power.

TechUK, a major trade group for electronics, says that while the change creates uncertainty, it and its members are up for the challenge—and the group emphasized that the industry would maintain strong even without the vote. “Today, just as it was yesterday, the UK remains a great place to start, locate, and grow a tech business,” said Julian David, techUK’s CEO, in comments to Electronics Weekly. “It is full of talented, skilled, and passionate people with the ideas and creativity to make great things happen.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry emphasized that it would focus on the impact of the change for its members, who could lose access to EU funding and research opportunities in other EU countries. “We will be monitoring post-referendum developments closely to understand and respond to the impacts on and opportunities for the research community,” the group said in a statement on Thursday. “We will continue to support our members in developing strong international collaborations and doing the kind of cutting-edge research needed to drive forward innovation and tackle global challenges.”

(Reinhard Krause/Reuters)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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