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On 25 March 2019, just a few days after the European Council agreed to extending the negotiating period of Article 50, and in the midst of uncertainties as to how the House of Commons would react to it, the NBCC co-hosted the Masterclass Brexit with Exact in Delft. The objective was to provide a forum to NBCC members, customers of Exact and policymakers for sharing insights and best practices related to the up to date challenges of the UK exiting the European Union.

After the introduction of the co-hosts, John Dillon (Chief Marketing Officer, Exact) and Michiel van Deursen (Director, NBCC), Paul Hardy (Brexit Director, DLA Piper) explained the current political situation in the United Kingdom. According to him, in addition to the difficulties concerning the issues of Northern Ireland, the reason why the Withdrawal Agreement failed twice in the House of Commons was the battle of ideologies going on in the UK. There were deeply opposing views whether the country should stay in the EU or not. Negotiating such divisive issues by a minority government was a mission impossible. The strategy of PM May was one of a game of chicken which would be fine in case there was a Plan B. Given, however, that there was no such plan, the chances of a no deal went up from “possible” to “more than possible”.

The representatives of Ebury, Menne Mennes (Managing Director Benelux) and Camille Faber (Foreign Exchange dealer) analysed the impact of the Brexit referendum and negotiations on the fluctuations of the exchange rate of GBP related to EUR. Political stability is one of the key drivers of exchange rates. Since the referendum in 2016 the GBP/EUR depreciation had been of 25%, a considerable change for businesses on both sides of the Channel. The political developments of the week of the masterclass would determine the GBP/EUR direction of the coming few months. No Deal Brexit would be nobody’s interest.

Savas Unal from Den Hartogh Logistics (Application and Project Manager) shared their casus of getting prepared for the different Brexit scenarios. Recognising the continuous change of our societies, his company had organised itself in such a way that adaptation and pro-activeness was a generic given.

Most of the questions and remarks addressed the difficulties in relation to making business decisions in times of uncertainties. The view that there should be an orderly outcome of the UK exiting the EU was widely shared.

The NBCC looks back on a lively fully attended event with special gratitude to John Dillon and Monique Engelaar (Project Manager, Exact) for their input, support and providing their wonderful premises to make it a success.