Countdown to Brexit: 63 days – more EU countries ‘courting’ UK firms as Brexit approaches

Brussels is launching a major initiative to attract UK-based businesses in the film, broadcast and creative industries to base themselves in the Belgian capital - ensuring that they can continue to operate seamlessly across Europe following Brexit.

UK-based broadcasters who currently air channels across Europe will need a presence on the continent to continue broadcasting under an EU license to these territories. EU funding schemes such as Creative Europe play a critical role in supporting the creative industries and, depending on the shape of the final relationship with the EU, UK businesses may lose access to this funding without a base in the EU. Many businesses in the creative sector also rely on the wider European talent pool to staff their businesses, and a common regulatory and legal framework to offer digital services across the continent, and will need to co-locate themselves in the EU if they are to continue to access these benefits.

Cécile Jodogne, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade at the Region of Brussels, commented: "As the date for the UK's exit from the EU draws nearer, there is increasing uncertainty over the shape of the final relationship. Businesses operating in the creative industries, such film and video, broadcast media and gaming, need to prepare now for any eventuality, and as a priority ensure that they can continue to operate seamlessly across the UK and EU. The only way to guarantee this is to establish a base of operations within the EU and, as the Brexit deadline bears down upon us, there are multiple reasons why businesses should act now to guarantee this presence in the EU."

Backed by the Brussels' regional government, regional trade associations and industry bodies, the initiative aims to bring UK-based businesses to the Brussels Capital Region and help them secure the future of their European operations.

Brussels is painting a picture of itself as the ideal location for any media organisation, from film production to video game development, to place their European and global-focused operations. There are special tax conditions for productions based in the city - and - an organisation dedicated to supporting the creative industries backed by local government and trade bodies - offers services such as business support, logistical advice and funding.  Brussels is highlighting a newly regenerated development dedicated to the media and creative industries - already home to the national TV stations.

It is playing its 3 cards:  the “home of the EU” card - proximity to key decision-makers, regulators and funding bodies – and the “freedom of movement” card  with open access to the European-wide talent pool.   Not missing the chance to “operate under the common legal and regulatory framework” enabling seamless delivery of digital services across Europe card.

"Brussels is a prime location for British businesses looking to maintain and grow their presence on the European and global stage," Jodogne added.

The Brussels Capital Region is organising a series of events at the Belgian Embassy in London designed to outline the attractions of the Region to UK-based businesses, covering the finance, life sciences and audio-visual sectors.

Amsterdam is another winner with the EU institutions that have to leave the UK for Europe before 29 March - and businesses that are choosing to leave the UK - making it their future centre for European operations.  Organisations moving to the Netherlands capital ahead of Brexit include:

  • The European Medicines Agency,

  • Panasonic,

  • RBS,

  • Bloomberg and Unilever

  • The Commonwealth Bank of Australia,

  • Ferrovial (the conglomerate that owns part of Heathrow Airport)

  • CME Group Inc ($240-Billion-a-Day Market)

The Panasonic move of its European headquarters from Britain to the Netherlands is driven by concerns over potential tax issues related to Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Confirming a report in the Nikkei business briefing about the electronics giant’s decision on Brexit, a company statement reads: “We will move our European headquarters to the Netherlands.”

The decision seems to have been sparked by fears that Japan could treat Britain as a ‘tax haven’ after Brexit if London lowers its corporate tax rate in a bid to retain business.  If Japan made the tax haven designation, Panasonic could face back taxes levied by the Japanese Government in Tokyo.

John ShuttleworthComment