The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) has said it is optimistic following Wednesday’s news that the British cabinet had agreed to support Theresa May’s draft Brexit agreement.
DI, a private interest organisation funded, owned and managed by 10,000 companies within the Danish manufacturing, trade and service industries, responded positively to the announcement despite the significant hurdles still faced by the deal.
“The transitional agreement provides a certain amount of clarity for businesses that have long lived with uncertainty caused by Brexit,” DI director Thomas Bustrup told Ritzau in a written comment.
“But the agreement is not secured until it has been approved by the House of Commons in London and by the EU. Until then, we must hold our breath,” Bustrup added.
The DI director’s words of caution already appeared to have been borne out by Wednesday morning, as news broke that Brexit secretary Dominic Raab had resigned, saying he cannot back May’s deal. That news puts the deal’s chances of survival into further doubt.
Even if the draft agreement, which was put forward by May and eventually received the backing of British ministers in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, receives approval from the British parliament, it must also be approved by the EU parliament and the leaders of the remaining 27 EU states.
May’s agreement provides a transitional plan which will enable Danish businesses to trade with UK markets under the same conditions as today until the end of 2020. The EU and UK parliament would meanwhile work to secure a new, permanent trade agreement.
If no new agreement is reached by the end of 2020, businesses could again be faced by uncertainty as the end of that year approaches, Bustrup said.
“It’s important to bear this in mind, so we don’t think everything has now been sorted out and in good order,” he said.
Mikael Olai Milhøj, a senior analyst with Danske Bank, noted that major news on Brexit negotiations was highly significant for Danish businesses, given that the UK is one of Denmark’s largest export markets.
“That’s why it’s important for many Danish businesses to be able to continue trading relatively problem-free with the Brits in future,” Milhøj said to Ritzau.
“That would be the case if this agreement gets through,” he said.