The shock decision by the British people to pull out of Europe has dramatically altered the fundamentals of the British political system. It has caused uncertainty and unease and has blurred the political landscape. Little is emerging from the fog.
Brexit has changed who runs the UK government and how it is organised. It has led to a rethink of strategic economic concepts and even in the short period of time since the historic vote has led to the creation of new structures to deal with the exit negotiations in Brussels and across the other 27 EU capitals.
Britain has announced that Article 50 will be triggered next March, a move which begins the countdown to its exit after 42 years of membership of the European Union. All eyes will now firmly focus on London as it struggles to cope with the impact of Brexit.
Understanding the new UK political landscape and personalities, the roles and relationships between government, parliament and civil service departments in the UK, within and between the EU institutions and between these official and political actors in the UK, Brussels, Berlin, Paris and other member states is now a must for all business leaders.
In London and Brussels many public servants are being reassigned to Brexit duties and transferred into new departments. Task forces are setting to work in EU member state capital and Britain is scouring the world for experienced trade negotiators who will frontline the complex talks on the British pull-out.
The permanent representatives of the member states permanent in Brussels are also gearing up to deal with the significant fall-out from Brexit. Between now and the triggering of Article 50 they are all in listening mode. They need to hear what business and representative organisations think and how their business models work. They want to collect the opinions of those who are neither in elected office nor benefiting from major media platforms.
The time to engage is now. This is the window in which to build new relationships that can be maintained and further developed during the talks and beyond as the new Europe takes shape.
Relying on the tried and tested UK channels, whether diplomatic or via relations in Whitehall line departments or UK Members of the European Parliament, is risky. These channels have already lost influence, and will certainly not deliver the same outcomes they have in the past.
We can explain the new machinery of government and the roles of those making the decisions on both sides of the UK’s exit negotiations. We can also introduce you to and build relationships with the people that you now need to know.