A survey of European businesses published today by EUROCHAMBRES has revealed that Brexit is not considered a concern for most companies.
The survey which was conducted in autumn 2016 and had 50,500 respondents from across Europe asked businesses to rank the main challenges they believed they faced in 2017.
While Irish firms identified the impact of Brexit as the second biggest challenge to the development of their business after labour costs, only 9.6% of European businesses registered Brexit as a challenge at all.
The EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey (EES) is an annual qualitative survey of business expectations across Europe. The survey is implemented by the network of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and co-ordinated by EUROCHAMBRES.
The questionnaire focuses on five economic indicators: business confidence, domestic sales, exports, employment and investment, as well as on challenges. For EES 2017, around 50,500 businesses responded during autumn 2016.
Businesses from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Serbia and Turkey participated in the survey.
Over 250 companies in Ireland participated in the survey. Labour costs, the impact of Brexit and skills shortages are identified as the main challenges facing Irish business in 2017. Forty three per cent of Irish business cite labour costs as their biggest challenge in 2017
Despite this, Irish businesses are among the most optimistic in Europe for 2017 along with Portugal and Serbia
Commenting on the results, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland and Deputy President of Eurochambres said, "This survey confirms that Irish businesses are feeling significantly more exposed to the impact of Brexit than businesses in the rest Europe. According to Irish firms, Brexit will be the second most difficult challenge for them in 2017 with firms only identifying labour costs as a greater threat."
He added, "While it is not surprising that Brexit is a priority for Irish business given our proximity to the UK and the importance of our trading relationship, it is alarming that businesses across Europe are not more concerned by the potential impact of the loss of the EU’s second biggest market."