Brexit Fallout: London’s Part of Europe & UK Firms Flock to the Netherlands

Written by | Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

“The key message from them is that they are really keen to see London continue to play a role in Europe,” said the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, speaking outside the European Commission referring to a series of meetings with EU top leaders. His meetings with Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Parliament’s President David Sassoli and former Brexit Steering Group chair Guy Verhofstadt and others come with talks between the EU and UK set to begin at the start of March. These will focus on trade and the future relationships between the two sides. Khan said he was particularly interested to “renew the UK capital’s ties” with the EU ahead of the mayoral election campaign in the UK capital which take place in May.
According to Khan, “a detailed exchange about how the rights of citizens can be protected post-Brexit” was an important question discussed during the meetings. He also stressed that many Londoners were “heartbroken” by the UK’s departure from the EU last month, adding, “I’m going to bang the drum for our city and to be close to our friends in Europe but also seeing if there’s a possibility, even though we’ve left the EU, of some sort of associate citizenship going forward.” An “associate citizenship for Britons” scheme, the idea being floated by Khan and Verhofstadt is, the London mayor told reporters, “the next best thing” to the UK staying in the EU’s single market and retaining the bloc’s freedom of movement rules, which he admitted “clearly is not going to happen.”
Meanwhile, the Netherlands has lured 140 Brexit-wary companies since the 2016 referendum to quit the EU, Netherlands’ Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) said on Wednesday (19 February). With more than half of these firms having moved last year, they are expected to create more than 4,200 jobs and inject €375 million in investment into the economy. The NFIA said that uncertainty over when and how the UK would exit contributed to the surge in interest last year. The Agency is now in talks with 425 “Brexit companies” about making a similar move, up from just 175 at the beginning of last year. “2020 will be an important year for these companies. Much will depend on the specifics of the future arrangements in the relation between the UK and the EU,” NFIA concluded.

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