• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
1/3 of British and German managers fear Brexit havoc
David Cameron and Angela Merkel speak in London on February 4th. Photo: DPA

1/3 of British and German managers fear Brexit havoc

Tom Barfield · 15 Feb 2016, 17:06

Published: 15 Feb 2016 17:06 GMT+01:00

"One thing people are afraid of is that the pound would strengthen even further – that would make it more expensive [for companies in the eurozone] to invest in Britain," Andreas Meyer-Schwickerath, Director of the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany (BCCG), told The Local.

Meanwhile, just over 29 percent told the Bertelsmann Foundation that it would negatively impact jobs in their company.

Overall, 29 percent of firms said that they would reduce or relocate their capacity in the UK if the country were to leave.

But among IT firms, that figure jumped to 41 percent – while the number who would increase capacity in the event of a Brexit stood at just 16 percent.

"The prospect that almost a third of British and German companies threaten to reduce or remove their activities in the UK should cause concern among politicians as well as the general public," the authors wrote.

Overall, 79 percent of the managers surveyed thought Britain should remain a member of the European Union, with 76 percent of British firms and 83 percent of German firms agreeing.

Brits less confident

Around half the senior businessmen in the Bertelsmann survey thought that a Brexit would be "neutral" in its impact on turnover, investment and jobs.

But pessimism was stronger among Brits than Germans, with 40 percent of UK managers expecting a hit to their company's turnover compared with just 32 percent of Germans.

Looking beyond their individual comapanies, managers' fears were more widespread.

A combined 42 percent of the managers said that the effects of Brexit would be "very negative" or "relatively negative" for employment in the first three years, compared with 13 percent who expected it to be positive.

British companies were again less confident than Germans, with 44 percent expecting a negative impact compared with 39 percent of Germans.

Roughly 42 percent responded that the effects would be neutral.

"We assumed that business circles, unlike normal British citizens at the moment, would react with greater concern to the possible decision of the UK to leave the EU," the study authors wrote.

"Our survey confirms this expectation... the voices that predicted negative consequences of Brexit outweighed the positive forecasts significantly every time."

Firms love internal market

Asked what the biggest advantage of EU membership was for their business, 407 companies – 52 percent – said that the bigger internal market topped the list.

 

The authors said that they had presented firms with a scenario that imagined the UK gaining access to the EU internal market on the same favourable terms as Switzerland.

"If Brexit were only to mean even partial restrictions in access to the many advantages of the EU internal market, one could reckon with even more negative predictions and a significant decrease in neutral forecasts," the authors wrote.

Story continues below…

Business' second preference came with the 22 percent who prized the EU's larger labour market.

As for the EU's negative aspects, around one-third said that complex regulations hindered their business and 22 percent complained about fears for the future of the Euro single currency.

"Most people are saying there's a lot of red tape which needs to be cut down," Meyer-Schwickerath said. "Not everything needs to be regulated."

But 146 businesses – 19 percent – said that they had no problems due to their country being a member of the European Union.

The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed managers at 782 companies divided roughly 50-50 between Britain and Germany on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Of the companies surveyed, 362 had annual turnovers of between €10 million and €500 million, and 420 with a turnover of more than €500 million.

SEE ALSO: Cameron woos Germans with EU reform plan

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Barfield (tom.barfield@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
A sign in Berlin's tech giant and startup-building company Rocket Internet. Photo: DPA.

London is currently thought of as the main hub for startups in Europe, but that will all turn around when the UK leaves the EU, tech industry experts say.

Brexit vote - Analysis
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
British Leave campaigners celebrate Brexit result. Photo: DPA

Britain leaving the EU means trouble ahead for Germany - and its hardest task will be convincing the Brits to drop a self-defeating ideology, a leading foreign policy expert told The Local.

How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Photo: DPA.

Considering a change of passport after the UK's vote to ditch the EU? Here’s how to do it.

Germany makes fracking verboten
A sign in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA.

German lawmakers approved a law that essentially bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

Brexit vote
German far right 'cries for joy' after UK votes to leave EU
Left to right: AfD's Beatrix von Storch and Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

The far-right AfD party called for a "new Europe" and the resignation of the EU's top two politicians in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Brexit has cut into European unity
Angela Merkel at a press conference after the Brexit vote on Friday. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created a "cut in Europe" and the project of European unity.

Couple copulating on bridge shut down Autobahn
Kaiserlei Bridge in Frankfurt. Photo: Dontworry / Wikimedia Commons.

It was a highly unusual choice of location for a romantic rendezvous, police in Frankfurt point out.

Brexit vote
Germany: Brexit vote is a 'sad day for Europe'
A British flag along with other flags of European Union member countries flies in front of the European Council building in Strasbourg, France. Photo: EPA.

Top German leaders declared that it was a "sad day for Europe" after British voters opted to leave the European Union.

Viernheim hostage-taker wasn't carrying lethal weapon
A police officer stands guard in front of the cinema in Viernheim. Photo: DPA

The 19-year-old German man who took over a dozen people hostage in a cinema in western Germany on Thursday was carrying replica weapons, prosecutors have confirmed.

Brexit vote
German stock market sees biggest drop since 2008 crash
Photo: DPA

News that British voters had opted to leave the EU led to panic in Germany's largest stock index.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Gallery
7 photos which show the aftermath of Bavaria's Autobahn bridge collapse
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Bayer's Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
7,895
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd