The looming EU referendum has caused quite the stir in recent months – with so much biased propaganda circulating the news and the media it can be extremely difficult to make an informed decision either way. This decision becomes even more diluted when looking at it from both a personal and industry/professional perspective.
As a communications agency that stages events, exhibitions and works with clients throughout Europe it’s a topic that we take very seriously and it’s important to review the different outcomes and how they could affect our business. So what does the EU referendum mean for the events industry?
In short – this is a question that is nearly impossible to answer and one that is largely down to risk assessment based on the information at hand. Can we afford the risk of leaving the EU when no one is certain what the future will hold? It’s all very well listening to economic forecasts and predictions, but these are just that: predictions.
After attending the most recent Event Huddle panel debate on the EU referendum it became apparent that aside from the mixed viewpoints – a lot of the so called ‘facts’ are really just a case of fearmongering and preying on people’s emotional naiveties. The entire debate has turned into a juvenile ‘battle of ideas’ from both the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ camps.
In true political style many of the questions asked were ignored or re-directed and this, mixed with a healthy dose of political jargon, left me slightly more confused than when I entered the room! Check out the full debate here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBW1RIs0dYU
Perhaps the most relevant issues of debate on an events industry and professional level are;
Employees & Jobs
This particular issue is part of the wider debate over immigration – we as an agency employ non-British nationals – so what does this mean for them? For the hospitality industry in particular, who employs thousands of EU nationals, a leave vote could mean stricter employment laws.
Although it’s worth mentioning in the first instance the UK already controls its own borders – we aren’t part of the Schengen agreement which allows some EU member states to transit from one country to another without border controls. Leaving the EU could result in stricter border controls for EU nationals which may, in turn, limit the number of skilled workers entering the UK.
This topic is arguably the most important from a professional point of view, long-term. On the one hand, the ‘Leave’ camp has suggested that we could greatly benefit from leaving the EU – we could sign our own free trade deals, be rid of EU fees and create thousands of new UK based jobs and flourish as an independent country. Not only is some of this information misleading, there is also no way of truly knowing if these promises will ring true.
The ‘Remain’ camp has predicted that if we leave we could hit an economical low and enter into the next recession, thousands of jobs will be lost, wages will decrease and trade agreements will be lost.
The fact of the matter is that uncertainty on either side is not conducive to a stable business. Still can’t decide? Here are some quotes from the ‘experts’ opinions regarding the referendum;
Sir Richard Branson – “Leaving the EU would be very, very damaging for Great Britain”
Karen Brady “UK businesses can create more jobs inEurope than out on their own”
Institute of Global Health Innovation “Leaving the EU would be an act of self-harm that would risk our economy, degrade our scientific research, and undermine our NHS”
Maybe the real question is – should we be having the vote in the first place?