October 2019 Editorial – EPN Consulting Newsletter


I have kept this editorial on hold as I was waiting for the latest definitive news about Brexit due to happen on 31st October 2019, however the newsletter must go live and here I am writing it.
Generally I don’t talk about politics but this topic is much more than that: it affects the UK economy, companies, businesses and European/International alliances.

Brexit has become a worldwide farce described in newspapers, TV channels, blogs, Twitter and Facebook msgs. Also the U.S.-based IEEE Spectrum magazine in Sept 2019 published an article on Brexit Threatens a Steep Loss of Jobs for U.K.-Based Tech Companies.

All started after the referendum held on 23rd June 2016 when 52% of Brits wanted the UK out of the EU. It was identified one date for this exit, 29th Mar 2019, and businesses began planning ahead on how to get organised for the new post-Brexit commercial relationships with companies located in EU Member States and non-EU countries. But no, this was too soon and a delay of couple of weeks could work well to settle things up. Well, two weeks were not enough so maybe June 2019? To be better safe than sorry, it was agreed a further extension to 31st Oct 2019 (“do or die”).
To receive “objective” information, I registered to the UK Gov website to receive newsletters on how Brexit could affect professional and personal life: what a wrong decision! In the last months I received an average of 30 emails – daily – informing and counter-informing on anything – from fish import to plants export – and, what’s worse, when I was reading and learnt something, that something was changed in a matter of days, so new flooding of emails stating more of less the same topics with small differences.

When I attended the Horizon 2020 Transport Infoday in Brussels last 7th Oct, someone asked the EC executives panel what to do with British partners in EU projects: either accept or reject them? The answer was pretty obvious: so far the UK is still a full EU member, thus UK organisations – either private or public – should be accepted. That’s the rule, but the sentiment in Europe is different: people are sceptical of having a British partner aboard in case this would negatively affect the evaluation or management of the project.

On that topic, I have received multiple emails from the UK government: all projects won before Brexit will be funded from the UK gov. in case of “no-deal Brexit”. Actually (some days later), all projects started before Brexit… No, better, all projects submitted before Brexit… So what is the official and definitive answer? Nobody knows… How businesses can get organised in such a mess?? Has any UK politician thought of this?

In these last days, we heard of the possibility of an additional extension for Brexit (31st Jan 2020) but a snap general election could be called on 12th Dec 2019. So far there are still uncertainties if this could happen… And what about a 2nd referendum on Brexit?

The story – sadly – continues…

Stefano Mainero
EPN Consulting CEO & Founder