Business Irish

Saturday 20 January 2018

Ireland could gain from 'mess' of Brexit vote - EU think tank

David Cameron
David Cameron

Paul O'Donoghue

The chief executive of an influential Brussels-based EU affairs think tank said Ireland could benefit from the "mess" that the UK is making in holding an in/out referendum on the EU.

Fabian Zuleeg is the head of the European Policy Centre, which is a not-for-profit think tank on European Union affairs that is committed to increased European integration.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said that a Brexit referendum could be beneficial to Ireland.

David Cameron's recently re-elected Conservative government has committed itself to a referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union. The vote will be held no later than the end of 2017, and possibly as soon as next year.

Several prominent UK business figures, most recently the president of the Confederation of British Industry, have warned of the dangers of leaving the EU, saying that it would damage industry in the country. Already, the British Bankers' Association has claimed that a number of banks have put off possible investments in Britain until after the referendum after Deutsche Bank revealed that it is considering cutting down its UK operations should the country pull out of the single market.

Mr Zuleeg said Ireland could be in a unique position to benefit from the uncertainty surrounding the UK over the referendum, claiming that it could make the country more attractive for businesses looking to access the EU market.

"Ireland, in my view, is going to benefit significantly from the mess the UK is making of things," he said.

"It [a Brexit referendum] means becoming the English speaking country where, if I want to invest in the Eurozone and if I want to have a stable environment where I believe they will stay in the EU, I would rather go to Ireland than the UK," he added.

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