BREXIT– The British Exit from the EU
On the evening of 9 November 2016, the commercial law firm Binder Grösswang held its latest discussion in the series Binder Grösswang impulse in the conference area of the firm. The topic was “BREXIT – The British Exit from the EU”.
Michael Kutschera, Managing Partner of Binder Grösswang, welcomed the speakers Dr. Martin Eichtinger, Austrian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Walter Schuster, former vice chairman of Financial Institutions Group Europe, JP Morgan, London, Dr. Peter Schwab, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Metal Forming Division, and Leigh Turner CMG, HM Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna. The discussion was moderated by die Rainer Nowak, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the daily newspaper “Die Presse”. Approximately 150 invited guests attended.
Martin Eichtinger, Austrian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, emphasized that in the wake of the Brexit referendum, the EU needs to look forward and demonstrate its capacity for problem-solving: “The consequences of the British decision to leave the Union are still veiled in uncertainty. With a view to the economy, it would be important to achieve clarification soon. Relations between Austria and Great Britain will continue to be very close; however, the future of Austrians in Great Britain is a point about which I am particularly concerned.”
Walter Schuster, former vice chairman of Financial Institutions Group Europe, JP Morgan, London, pointed out: “Brexit presents a higher risk for the survival of the EU than the Greece crisis presentede for the euro. The aim of the EU founders was to avoid nationalistically motivated conflicts through economic and political cooperation between the peoples of Europe. This premise no longer holds after Great Britain’s decision to withdraw. The Brexit negotiations will reveal the depth of the divisions within the EU and the extent to which each country is prepared to fight for its economic advantages in future bilateral trade with great Britain. The reasons why nationalistic thinking has regained high priority in all the countries of Europe are to be sought in the failure of all its leaders to enhance the prosperity of the general population, particularly after the financial crisis. The refugee crisis and the fear prevalent within Great Britain of another unchecked flow of labour migration from the EU served as a catalyst for populist movements and for Brexit.”
Peter Schwab, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Metal Forming Division, underlined his conviction that, despite Brexit, “Europe’s future cannot lie in a new nationalism. For political and economic reasons, we still want a united Europe. However, Europe has to succeed in becoming more stringent, clearer and more transparent on the basis of consistently followed principles.”
Leigh Turner, British Ambassador to Austria, underlined that the result of the referendum did not mean that Great Britain would turn its back on its partners. “Great Britain is leaving the European Union but not Europe. Our bilateral relations with Austria are very strong and will remain so. We shall work to further expand our close relations in the sectors of business, tourism and culture,” Turner stated, and added that he personally would strive to ensure that a good deal for both sides would be achieved. “Great Britain has always been a very business-friendly country. That is not going to change,” the Ambassador said.
Among the numerous illustrious guests were Robert Cerwinka (CRO, Easybank), Burkhard Ernst (Chairman of the Management Board, RAINER Kraftfahrzeughandel), Rainer Gunz (Borealis Vienna), Kurt Kasperak (List Group), Andreas Khol (former president of the Austrian National Council), Max Kindler (Managing Director, Rail Cargo Operator – Austria), Martina Lederer (Managing Director, Raiffeisen Property Holding International GmbH), Hannes Leitgeb (Managing Director, MASTERINVEST Kapitalanlage GmbH), Michael Perthold (Managing Director, Coface Austria), Herbert Pichler (Member of the Management Board, Wüstenrot Landeszentrale Wien), Franz Pöltl (Managing Director, EHL Immobilien), Günther Brandstätter (Donau Versicherung) and many others.
The discussion series Binder Grösswang impulse focuses on current subjects and outstanding personalities, and takes place twice annually in the exclusive ambience of the firm’s premises in Vienna.