COBCOE's Brexit Project

COBCOE'S Brexit Ambition

Brexit report





Our Brexit response is focused on the priorities of businesses across Europe. The importance of the project became all the more apparent after Theresa May's speech on 17 January 2017.

In her speech, the Prime Minister made clear that the UK is aiming for a hard-headed agreement with the EU based on ongoing common interests. It will not remain a member of the Single Market, and it will not remain a member of the Customs Union, as we understand it. The UK Government hopes that it can reach a sensible, commercial, agreement with the EU based on mutual interests and a heritage of collaboration and respect, particularly in the regulatory field. It is crucial that the voice of European business is heard loud and clear on what those mutual interests are — and that it is heard not just in the UK, but in Brussels and in capitals around Europe. 

The British chambers in Europe are uniquely positioned to establish what common interests exist between the EU27 and the UK, and to articulate them to their respective governments, in the hope that a more pragmatic agreement can be reached between the UK and the EU, for the benefit of businesses across the Europe. This will widen the recognition of the COBCOE network as a key stakeholder for governments in our network, continuing our close consultation.

On that basis, we consider that the three primary purposes of the project are as follows:

1.    to identify the areas of common interest between the EU27 and the UK, in the hope that these can be protected as part of the UK's withdrawal agreement;

2.    to identify the steps government needs to take/negotiate to implement the withdrawal agreement with minimum disruption to business; and 

3.    to identify what government needs to do immediately (i.e. before the conclusion, or possibly start, of withdrawal negotiations) to ensure that business continue to be able to grow and invest during the negotiation period.

This is, to our knowledge, the only business-led qualitative research into these relationships in core economic sectors across EU member states, incorporating and featuring:

  • Research led by business

  • Research into business relationships within the EU

  • Studies of core sectors in each member state

  • A 360° business relationships view of the economic web mirroring the work that EU businesses operate in.

  • Exploration of the interwoven and diverse nature of supply and support chains

  • Sound methodology for qualitative research based on testing

  • A high degree of integrity through the report being in the public domain


 The report: Brexit – the Voices of European Business

A major milestone in the Brexit Ambition project was the publication in September 2017 of the report giving European businesses a voice on Brexit. The result of nine months of research, involving 1,000 businesses through surveys and 27 roundtable discussions in 18 countries, the report highlighted the key areas  of concern and sets out the priorities for a Brexit that would secure prosperity for Europe. 

Read the news story about the report launch

See media coverage of the report

The report has been presented to both the UK Government and European Commission negotiators. It has also been introduced and discussed at events around the COBCOE network, including Helsinki, London, Milan, Paris, Ljubljana, Sofia and Stockholm, with Anne-Marie Martin, COBCOE Chief Executive, moderating and joining discussion panels around Europe.

Report launch London event 25 September 2017 hosted by Hogan Lovells

British Bulgarian Business Association (BBBA) conference 2 November 2017: Brexit – outlook and effects on the Bulgarian Economy (BBBA website report)

British Slovenian Chamber of Commerce Sports Meets Business Conference Brexit panel: What are the next steps? 9 October 2017 (Facebook post / Conference details)

British Chamber of Commerce for Italy Brexit event, Milan, 2 October 2017 (Linkedin blog)

The report is now being used to provide briefings for:

  • Primary audience – UK Government, national governments and the European Commission

  • Secondary audience – political groups within the European Parliament, business communities and the media


Phase 2: Transition Period

In March 2018, COBCOE published a follow on report Review of European Business Views on the Transition Period

For more information, please contact:


COBCOE's Brexit Ambition partner is Hogan Lovells, the international law firm. 


The initiative is also supported by Today Translations and Kompass

Hogan Lovells logo


Today TranslationsKompass




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