Updates from the Branch

  • The head of the Royal Academy of Music has said terminal damage is being done to the UK's music industry by Brexit, in an interview for the Face The Music campaign by European Movement UK.  

    Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is principal of one of the world's most prestigious music schools, which boasts Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Elton John and Annie Lennox among its former students.  

    "You've got to have a political will at the heart of understanding the importance to the UK to be open for business, for the very best talent from all over the world. And Brexit has stopped that flow of talent coming in.

    "I think there will be terminal damage in an area where we have a world-renowned reputation as educators and as people who make a difference worldwide in the creative industries. It's a colossal waste, in terms of reputation, in terms of capability, in terms of possibility of things that Britain has always done incredibly well.'  

    "Brexit goes entirely against the mentality of the way musicians think. UK students don't have the access to European work, both when they’re students, and of course when they graduate, and that is a huge cultural and professional problem. There are no benefits. There is nothing there. There are no winners."  

    The Face The Music campaign is urging the government to find address the ongoing damage to UK musicians and artists touring the EU. You can watch the personal stories from people from across the industry, and how they've been affected, here.

    Watch full interview here.

    Read More

  • ‘Leaving the EU has destroyed people’s careers.’ That’s the view of one of the classical music world’s brightest young talents, James Henshaw. It’s the view of others working in music, too.  

    From bands and instrument makers to backstage staff – the loss of freedom of movement, the ‘work-90-days-in-180’ rule, and the mind-boggling visa and carnet system – all mean one of the UK’s most successful cultural exports is being slowly destroyed. 

    It’s why our new campaign is urging the Government to stop the damage being done to the UK music industry. 

    Face The Music, led by European Movement UK, is shining a spotlight on the plight of musicians, touring artists and backstage staff, since the UK left the EU on 31st January 2020, and is urging the Government to negotiate a bilateral agreement, one which guarantees visa-free travel for UK artists in the EU, and for EU artists in the UK.  

    Our research shows a talent drain on British music, from up-and-coming stars leaving Britain to live in an EU country, to instrument makers who have lost their EU customers due to rising exports costs, to jobbing musicians who face being shut out of freelance work because they no longer hold an EU passport. 

    “I was forced to choose between my job and my country,” said James Henshaw, a rising star among conductors on the UK classical music scene, who moved from London to Germany in 2020.  

    “I knew that if I wanted to continue working, I couldn’t stay in the UK. In my own country. I felt shut out. Everyone in the classical music world is constantly moving. 8 weeks here, 8 weeks there. About 15% of my work before Brexit was in the UK, and the rest was from around the world – a lot from the EU. But after 2020, I could see that EU work drying up. Because if several candidates go for a job, and you’re the only one who needs a visa and all the paperwork, you don’t stand a chance. So I had to move. I had to, to keep working.” 

    Matt Carghill plays in the band Sly and the Family Drone. He used to tour EU countries every year – but that’s now stopped.  

    “We’d just get in the van – instruments, merchandise, throw it all in and off you go. It was the merchandise sales that got us through, the money that would pay for the fuel to get to the next gig. Now, because of all the export costs, you can’t do it. It’s over.” 

    Rachel Nicholls is a freelance British soprano in opera and concert, currently starring in The Handmaid’s Tale in London. Since leaving the EU, her whole career has changed.  

    “I used to do three or four jobs in the EU every year. Since Brexit, I’ve done just one EU job in 7 years. Those jobs are still there, but now they’re going to artists who aren’t from the UK. The 90-day rule, and the visas you need, just mean UK musicians are not considered any more. It’s too difficult to employ them. I know so many people leaving the industry. We are doing severe, irreparable damage to the UK music industry, and it is the younger people I feel so, so sorry for.” 

    Chris and Sabina Allen-Kormylo make specialist hand-made instruments, hurdy-gurdys, from a workshop at the back of their house in Wales.  

    “We used to have about 30% of our business from EU customers,” Chris tells us, Now the phone never rings from them, ever. Why would you buy from us, when you might have to pay hundreds of pounds more just to have your instrument shipped to you? EU customers can’t even have instruments shipped to me for repair anymore, because you risk it being stuck in a warehouse at customs somewhere for weeks on end. That business is gone, and we just have to live with it.” 

    Watch musicians' stories.

    Sign the petition.

    Stand with us and tell this government to Face The Music.

  • Words by Phil Carey, Secretary of EM Wandsworth & Merton.

    This week, EM Wandsworth & Merton joined Marsha de Cordova MP for Battersea in Westminster to host The Business of Brexit: The Impact of Leaving the EU on Businesses in Battersea and Wandsworth.

    Marsha de Cordova introduced the discussion aimed at hearing how businesses in and around her constituency have been affected by Brexit, as part of the cumulative impact assessment that she felt was needed. She welcomed the commitment - from Sir Keir Starmer and David Lammy - to renegotiate our relationship with the EU if forming the next Government, but recognised that a key question would be the EU’s willingness to engage.

    Barbara Callender, Chair of EMWM, outlined what the branch had already established from its surveys of local business opinions in 2018 and 2021. 

    Sir Nick Harvey, CEO of the European Movement UK, condemned the madness of the UK having thrown away its unique special status. He highlighted the damage to the UK’s public finances: even a cautious estimate of lost economic activity pointed to a £26bn annual shortfall for the Exchequer, equivalent to 5p in the £ on Income Tax. The remedy, he stated, would have to be in three stages: the Government re-applying for accession to the EU; the EU being convinced in the UK’s commitment, and the public voting resoundingly in favour this.

    Read More

  • Lord Heseltine - 'Brexit has failed. The only way forward is with Europe.'

    Read More

  • The UK has rejoined the EU's science programme, Horizon Europe, as an associate member.

    We have been campaigning on this hard in the last few months, with thousands of our members and supporters signing our open letter and writing to their MP, whilst I myself have been pushing on this for years.

    The deal struck by Rishi Sunak has been a long time coming. We have been campaigning for months to urge the Government to solve the impasse over the Horizon programme. A deal is now done – but the long delays have cost the UK’s scientific community dearly.  

    Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal: 

    “After months of frustrating delay, this decision will be received with overwhelming approval – not only by UK scientists but by all who recognized the benefits of an ‘open’ community where collaboration has fewer impediments. The UK will be perceived worldwide as a better place to do science.” 

    Sir Fraser Stoddart, 2016 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry: 

    “When it comes to participation in Horizon Europe, the United Kingdom should be front and centre.” 

    Being on the outside of Horizon Europe for 2.5 years has done huge damage to our scientific and research community. As well as missing out on millions in funding, the reputational damage is incalculable. 

    UK scientists no longer had the chance to work with world-leading partners from all over Europe and beyond, on cutting edge projects to find new cancer treatments, clean up our water networks, tackle climate change and much more. It put the UK’s status as a global scientific leader under threat. 

    We’ve consistently called for the government to stop stalling and find a way back into the EU-wide funding and collaboration scheme. We can now start to rebuild links with our EU neighbours, and prevent UK scientists from being further hamstrung by our hard Brexit. 

    Michael Browne, CEO, Crowdhelix 

    "As a company whose business is to forge links between an international network of excellent researchers and innovating companies, we saw first-hand the tragic damage that Brexit and then failing to join Horizon Europe have done. Collaboration is the lifeblood of research and innovation, so we profoundly hope that this re-opens the door for the UK's researchers and innovators once again to the environments within which they were once doing so well." 

    I know first-hand the unique value to our scientists of these collaborative frameworks. I’ve worked on amazing multinational projects funded by Horizon Europe, with pooled science funds into a single vast pot to support discovery at scale. It’s uniquely powerful in the global science landscape. It pains me to think of the opportunities we have lost while the Government has dragged its feet in doing a deal that could have been completed months ago.   

    Dr Mike Galsworthy, Chair of European Movement UK, studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, before completing a PhD in Behaviour Genetics at King's College London. He is an expert on EU science policy and has written academic papers analysing EU science programmes. 

  • Thank you for expressing interest in writing your Will via our partnership with the Free Wills Network. We've processed your request and you'll receive more information soon about how to make your will and, if you choose, to include a gift to the European Movement as part of that process.

    Our partners at National Free Wills Network will be in-touch shortly.

    Thank you.

  • A new film, called ‘Brexit Dead Ringer’, released for the NHS' 75th birthday takes aim at leading politicians who lied about the health service to deliver Brexit in a film that is striking, bleak and utterly compelling.

    The film, produced by Apostrophe Campaigns for the European Movement, shows a man calling the NHS to book an appointment in a split-screen sequence calling back to one of the most memorable and disingenuous Vote Leave ads from the EU referendum.

    Vote Leave’s 2016 split-screen ad depicted overcrowded hospitals, with overworked staff drowning in paperwork alongside a parallel, imagined world where Brexit has magically turned the United Kingdom into a perfect utopia, thanks to an NHS with an extra £350m a week after leaving the EU. 

    The European Movement’s advert, released exclusively to The Independent, takes a swipe at the original “disingenuous propaganda.” Their film reminds viewers of those lies, showing us the reality of empty building sites and unanswered phones in place of the promised new hospitals and properly compensated staff.

    In the new rip-off split-screen, a man attempting to make a hospital appointment has his call quickly answered on one side of the screen, whilst on the other, nobody picks up. Instead, we hear the piercing, jarring and relentless ringing of a bright red phone.

    It sharply divides the false promises made by the Brexit campaign from the reality of post-Brexit Britain.

    The phone call made in the film goes through to ‘Extension 350’ (another dig at the £350m a week promise) before the camera pulls back to reveal that the phone is hanging on a paper-thin, fake wall, in an unused building site, with the promised funding nowhere to be seen.

    An answering machine tells him, “You’ve reached one of the hospitals built with the £350m a week for the NHS when we took back control.”

    The phone disconnects with, “Message box full, goodbye.”

    The caller is left with no response and no way to get help, appearing unsure why the fantasy he was sold hasn't come to pass; a voice-over tells us, "They want you to forget their Brexit lies. Don’t.”

    We are then delivered an urgent call to action: “Join the Battle for the Soul of our Country".

    Emma Knaggs, Interim CEO of the European Movement, said:

    “In 2016, the Leave campaign released a series of deliberately misleading adverts, spinning a fantasy of a well-staffed, well-funded NHS with near-empty emergency rooms populated exclusively by smiling, uninjured patients. They claimed Brexit would inject £350 million a week to spend on the NHS, building a new hospital every single week. It was a lie then, and it’s a lie now.

    “As we celebrate 75 years of our beloved NHS, the European Movement is the only organisation with the courage to call out the deliberate deception and propaganda of the Brexit campaign that has pushed hardworking staff and our invaluable service to the edge.

    “They want you to forget their Brexit lies. Don’t. Don’t let them get away with it. We can't allow politicians complicit in these gross fabrications to sweep it all under the carpet and ignore their culpability — Brexit has been a disaster, especially for healthcare, and everyone knows it.

    Decades of Brexit lies, cover-ups and scandal are finally catching up. Britain cannot thrive whilst crippled by Brexit. The European Movement is the only organisation with the courage, confidence and commitment to reverse the calamity of Brexit and win the Battle for the Soul of our Country.”

    Mike Galsworthy, Chair of the European Movement, added:

    The truth has always been that Brexit was a bonfire of public money and that, in fact, EU citizens were adding more to the supply side of the NHS than the demand side.

    “Without EU doctors and nurses feeling welcome here and with huge sums of money consumed by Brexit, our NHS is under huge strain.

    “The European Movement is the only organisation with the courage, confidence and commitment to call this out, reverse the calamity of Brexit and lead the country back to a place where fellow European nurses, doctors and carers feel fully welcome in our NHS and this country again.”

  • Brexit has pushed our NHS to the edge and failed our country. Now, they want you to forget their Brexit lies. Don’t.

    Here we breakdown the following 10 ways that Brexit has been a disaster for our NHS: 

    • less money to treat patients  
    • less money to pay NHS staff  
    • higher costs for medicines, equipment and energy 
    • shortages of doctors, nurses and care workers 
    • longer waiting lists and delays 
    • higher risks of medicine shortages 
    • more deaths from Covid
    • harder to prepare for a future pandemic 
    • exclusion from EU policies and programmes  
    • Brexit is bad for your health. 

    Less money to treat you and your family 

    Brexit has meant about £600 million a week less for spending on the NHS and public services - not £350 million a week more as Vote Leave dishonestly claimed.  

    That’s because Brexit has battered the UK economy. The Centre for European Reform estimates that the UK government is receiving about £40 billion less in tax revenue every year. The UK’s real net contribution to the EU was in most years about £10 billion.  So that means roughly £30 billion a year – or £577 million a week – less for the government to spend. 

    Meanwhile, the UK has spent about 20 per cent less per person on health than similar European countries over the past decade. That means more people die – for example, 9 per cent of people in the UK who had the most common type of stroke died within 30 days in 2019, compared with 6.2 per cent in Germany. 


    Less money to pay our hardworking NHS staff   

    Government Ministers, like the rest of us, clapped NHS workers as they saved thousands of lives during the pandemic. But you can’t live off applause. Now, junior doctors, nurses and ambulance staff have had to strike to fight for fair pay.  

    But Brexit means the coffers are empty. Without Brexit, NHS employees would have had more room for manoeuvre. 

    Whether it is beds and the best care for patients or decent pay for staff, the NHS desperately needs funds – and Brexit means there’s just less money there. 

    Higher costs for medicines, equipment and energy  

    Brexit – by adding costly red tape to trade with neighbouring countries and because of the fall in the value of the pound – has made inflation worse in the UK than it needed to be. Brexit is partly why the UK in May 2023 had the highest annual inflation rate in the G7, at 8.7%, while inflation in the eurozone had dropped to 6.1%. 

    So, because of Brexit, everything the NHS buys is costing more than it needs to,.  

    Whether that is medicine, food or energy.  

    Runaway inflation also adds to the need to pay staff more, while meaning there’s less money around to do that. 

    Finally, one of the policy remedies for high inflation is raising interest rates and this is happening in the UK. But borrowing becoming more expensive – partly because of Brexit - will raise the cost of capital investment in the NHS, making it more difficult to provide new hospitals and other health infrastructure. 


    Shortages of doctors, nurses and care workers 

    Brexit has made it much more difficult for the NHS to recruit staff from Europe. 

    A November 2022 survey by the Nuffield Trust estimated that there are 4,000 fewer EU doctors working in the UK than if we had stayed in the EU. This has particularly affected crucial specialist areas like heart surgery and anaesthesia.  

    Meanwhile, the number of nurses and midwives coming from the EU to work in the UK dropped by around 90% between 2015 and 2022.  

    There were in March 2023 112,500 NHS full-time equivalent vacancies in England alone, with vacancy rates reaching 10% for nurses. The number of staff the NHS actually needs to recruit is even higher, at an estimated 154,000 – some personnel are not recruited because, partly thanks to Brexit, there is no money to pay them.  

    Vacancies that are being filled are often taken up by doctors and nurses from developing countries that can ill afford to spare them. The Royal College of Nursing has called this “unsustainable and potentially unethical”. 

    And these are vacancies in a system that even if fully staffed has far fewer doctors per capita than most EU countries: England has 2.9 doctors per 1,000 people and would need an extra 46,300 to reach the average of 3.7 across the 22 EU states that are members of the OECD.  

    Even if the government delivers on its promises to train more home-grown doctors and nurses, that would not feed through into fully trained and available staff for many years.  

    Dentistry has not been spared by Brexit. The number of EU trained dentists registering in the UK has halved since the referendum. This is a big part of the reason why many patients no longer have access to NHS dentistry at all. 

    Care workers are mostly not employed by the NHS but the 165,000 vacancies in 2022 in the care sector – which has long relied significantly on EU nationals - mean more patients need to be kept for longer in hospital beds needed by others, further lengthening waiting lists. 


    Longer waiting lists and delays 

    The funding and recruitment crises made much worse by Brexit are having a disastrous impact on the NHS’s ability to provide care when people need it.  

    The waiting list for treatment in England alone is at a record 7.4 million, with half a million added in the five months to April 2023.  

    Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that at least 100,000 people across the UK have had their lives put at risk over the last decade because of delays to tests or treatment for cancer. Brexit is not the primary cause of that. But it is making it harder to put it right and to save more lives. 

    The President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine estimated 500 people were dying a week this winter because of delays to ambulances and in A and E.  


    Medicine shortages  

    Brexit is making the UK more vulnerable to shortages of medicines. 

    The Brexit-related fall in the value of sterling has made all imports – including medicines - more expensive. The NHS therefore has to spend more of its pounds to get the same amount of medicine as before.  

    In addition, medicines are heavily regulated, some have a short shelf-life and protecting patients is crucial. So Brexit delays and additional red tape can cause particular problems. 

    There are global shortages and price rises in some medicines. The UK is likely to be harder hit by these than the EU, because Brexit has made supplying medicine to the UK more difficult. That could get worse if the belated post-Brexit introduction of full checks on EU imports leads to still more queues and delays. What is more, the UK will be outside the EU’s proposed stockpiling and anti-shortage measures. 

    The number of medicines for which the Department of Health and Social Care has had to agree to pay higher than the previous going rate in order to maintain supply has risen from around 20 a month before the referendum to consistently over 100.  

    Last but not least, leaving the EU’s huge medicines market saw the UK – and the NHS - start to lose out in the race to attract innovative new medicines and clinical trials. So UK patients could now be at the back of the queue for lifesaving new treatments. 


    More deaths from Covid 

    The recently opened Covid-19 public inquiry has already heard that Brexit weakened the UK’s pandemic preparation and response and contributed to one of the highest death tolls from in the world.  

    It is a myth that the reason the UK was one of the first countries in the world to roll out a vaccination programme is because of Brexit. It could have done that while still in the EU. 

    Contrary to government claims, the UK had by summer 2021 been overtaken by several EU countries in terms of numbers of people receiving vaccinations. By the start of 2023 the UK was behind France, Germany, Italy and six other EU states. 

    So when Boris Johnson trumpeted that Brexit had allowed the UK to save more lives from Covid, he was lying - again. 

    While details remain unclear, the collective purchasing power of the EU also seems to have meant it was able to obtain vaccines and protective equipment at cheaper prices. 

    Harder to prepare for a future pandemic 

    Brexit is hampering the UK’s ability to prepare for a future pandemic.  

    First, Brexit’s hit to the economy means less money is available for pandemic preparation.  

    Second, the EU has moved quickly to learn lessons by setting up a specialist agency for pandemic preparedness, pooling resources and expertise and by providing additional funding to reinforce health systems. The UK, again, is left out and left behind. 


    Exclusion from EU policies and programmes 

    Brexit meant the EU’s medicines regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – and its 900 high-skilled jobs - moved from London to Amsterdam in 2020. EMA’s presence in London once attracted other jobs and many business visitors. Those have gone to Amsterdam, too.  

    The government now accepts that the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will in most cases simply cut and paste EMA decisions. “Taking back control”, this is not. 

    Post-Brexit, the government has yet to negotiate the UK’s participation in the EU’s € 95 billion Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, which has a major health component. Michelle Mitchell, CEO of Cancer Research UK, says that this “impacts patients who aren’t benefiting from potentially life changing innovations and treatments.” Meanwhile a King’s College London study found that: “If the UK is not involved in EU collaborative cancer research…patients with cancer will pay the price.” 

    For now, data is continuing to flow between the NHS and its EU counterparts. This is crucial for collaborative research, clinical trials, the movement of professionals and in dealing with cross-border threats like Covid-19. But UK divergence from EU data protection rules – proposed by the government – would be a big threat to these transfers of data, risking the further isolation of the NHS from other European health systems. 


    Brexit is bad for your health 

    Brexit is not only undermining the NHS’s ability to meet existing challenges, but also making those challenges bigger, in many direct and indirect ways. 

    The less money there is for the government to spend on the NHS, the harder it will be to develop and maintain world-class primary care services. So more people will get seriously ill. 

    Brexit is a major factor in the cost of living crisis which has left many people unable to afford to eat healthily or to heat their homes in winter. Inequality and poverty are proven to increase the risk of ill health. 

    Inflation in food prices – especially fresh fruit and vegetables – has been particularly high. Between December 2019 and March 2023 food prices rose by almost 25 percentage points. Analysis by the London School of Economics suggests that without Brexit this figure would be 8 percentage points lower. 

    If people can no longer afford high quality, fresh, home-grown or EU products and have to replace them with lower cost processed foods, this will over time further damage public health and lead to yet more demands on the NHS.  

    Meanwhile, the government’s desperation to strike trade deals, even if that means allowing in food products from faraway countries banned in the EU, could put British farmers out of business and further undermine the quality of the British diet.  

    Obesity rates in the UK are already the highest in Europe, with over one in four people obese. The Soil Association has pointed to the risk that Brexit will make that problem still worse, with obvious implications for healthcare.  

    Brexit’s £40 billion annual hit to tax revenues is making it harder to provide adequate public services, including not only social care and mental health support but also public green spaces and sports facilities that help people to stay healthy.   

    The bottom line is that Brexit is damaging the UK’s economy, society and the physical and mental well-being of millions of British people. And it is the NHS – itself seriously weakened by Brexit - that will have to try to pick up the pieces. 

    Decades of Brexit lies, cover-ups and scandal have finally caught up. Britain cannot thrive whilst crippled by Brexit and the people responsible want you to forget their lies. Don’t. 

    Join the Battle for the Soul of our Country. 

  • Watch Brexit Dead Ringer, and:


    Here are ten ways Brexit has been a disaster for our NHS: 

    • less money to treat patients  
    • less money to pay NHS staff  
    • higher costs for medicines, equipment and energy 
    • shortages of doctors, nurses and care workers 
    • longer waiting lists and delays 
    • higher risks of medicine shortages 
    • more deaths from Covid
    • harder to prepare for a future pandemic 
    • exclusion from EU policies and programmes  
    • Brexit is bad for your health. 

    Decades of Brexit lies, cover-ups and scandal have finally caught up. Britain cannot thrive whilst crippled by Brexit and the people responsible want you to forget their lies. Don’t.  

    Sign up now to join the Battle for the Soul of our Country.

  • No problem. 

    Can you do just one more thing, and share our campaign so we can get more people on board?

    The more of us there are, the more pressure we can create to reverse Brexit. 

  • published Reverse Brexit Thank You in Reverse Brexit Signup 2023-06-13 11:43:17 +0100

    Together, we will reverse Brexit and win the Battle for the Soul of our Country. The more people who sign up, the stronger our campaign becomes.

    This movement is entirely powered by members. Will you take the next step, and become a member of the European Movement today, from just £3 a month?

  • What is our Market Access campaign? 

    Despite the economic turmoil we have faced in recent years, loss of access to the world’s largest internal market, right on our doorstep, remains the elephant in the room of our politics. We want to start a discussion of the benefits of Single Market access for the UK, and that begins with a frank assessment of the effects of leaving. 

    Our business community has been at the forefront of this issue, and they are a crucial constituency for all major parties going into the next General Election; that’s why we are targeting Brexit-impacted businesses with our latest campaign. 

    We begin with a listening campaign, gathering data and testimonies on experiences of entrepreneurs post-Brexit through our survey. 

    We will then create a report from the data that we will publish and bring to Party Conferences. As part of this report, we’re offering groups the chance to do a ‘deeper dive’ survey of their own in their local area, and we will dedicate a page of the report to the findings of each local survey. 


    Why now? 

    Two years have passed since Britain officially left the EU, the pandemic is over, and now we can get a clear picture of the real-life effects of Brexit on UK enterprise. The political debate has begun to move beyond the polarisation of the 2019 General Election, and according to YouGov, 53% of UK voters regret leaving the EU. Even committed Brexiter Rishi Sunak has admitted that Northern Ireland has a privileged position in the UK thanks to its EU market access. 

    With another General Election on the horizon, and every major political party courting the business community, it is time for voters and politicians to understand what Brexit really means for business. 


    Will there be an action day for groups? 

    Yes! It will in fact be an action weekend, from Friday 30th June-Sunday 2nd July. 

    We understand that groups can be busy, so you can take part any time between now and the end of July.  

    The focus of the Market Access campaign is our Business Impact Survey, asking local businesses across the UK about how Brexit has affected them. Unlike other campaign days, we are targeting a specific group of people, the business community. We have created some business cards with a QR code that links to our national survey, and we’re looking for activists to take these into small and local businesses, or hand them out at stalls to business owners, and to talk to the public about the campaign. That’s all. We’ve made it easy to include as part of your previously scheduled campaign sessions, a large and visible stall, or a small team canvassing the high street. 


    What is the European Movement’s Business Impact Survey? 

    We are asking businesses up and down the country to share their honest experiences of Brexit through our Brexit Impact Survey. The idea came from our activist group in Wandsworth and Merton, who developed and delivered a survey for the businesses in their boroughs. They discovered that 65% of respondents had felt ill-prepared for Brexit at the end of the transition period, and 91% felt that Brexit had been bad for business. Our group in Swindon have also done a highly successful survey with a smaller team. 

    On 15th May, we launched a national version of the survey to every part of the UK, across every sector of the economy. Every business in the UK should have the chance to tell their story of Brexit.  


    How successful has the survey been so far? 

    We’re aiming for at least 1,000 responses to the survey, but the more we have, the better case we can make for Market Access. So far, we have received over 600 responses, and the results are damning: over 96% of business owners have told us that Brexit has been a negative for their business, and almost 98% would benefit from a return to the EU Single Market. 

    We’re only 400 responses off our target, that’s why we need your help! 


    What is a ‘deeper dive’ survey? 

    A ‘deeper dive’ survey is an opportunity for your group to have a closer look at what’s going on in your area. You can design your own questions specific to your area or host an event; maybe you have an important local industry/employer, or a close contact in the local Chamber of Commerce, or you would like to organise a business round table? 

    Maybe you want to collect specific testimonies from the farming communities, or manufacturing, or retail, or services? Feel free to use your creativity. At the end of your ‘deeper dive’, we will ask for a one-page summary of what you have learned, which we will then include in our overall report to take to party conferences. 


    What support will be available for ‘deeper dive’ surveys? 

    We are offering each group up to £500 of funding to do their own surveys and events, simply fill in the form and return it to [email protected]. This can cover materials, advertising, events and anything else you may need. We are also providing you with a draft event plan for a roundtable, and some draft questions. 


    Does my group need to do a ‘deeper dive’ to take part in the campaign? 

    Not at all! If your group is low on capacity at the moment, you can still order print related to our national Business Impact Survey and hand it out to local businesses. You can also share the Survey on social media, particularly local Facebook and Next-Door groups. 

    If you can, encourage business owners to write to their local paper about their experiences. Everything you can do helps! 


    What is the Single Market? 

    The UK lost access to the Single Market when the Brexit transition period ended in January 2021. People, goods, services and money can move around the single market almost as freely as within a single country. 

    To make that possible, the EU agrees common rules and standards, to remove the need for border checks and to protect workers, consumers and the environment. It covers all 27 EU member states plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. 


    What is the Customs’ Union? 

    The UK lost Customs Union access alongside Single Market access. The Customs Union allows members to trade with each other without tariffs and to impose the same tariffs on non-member countries. Along with the Single Market, the Customs Union allows most goods to move across borders within the EU without checks or payments.  


  • published Take the Business Impact Survey in Our Campaigns 2023-05-12 15:49:31 +0100


    Businesses up and down the country have been hit hard by Brexit. Losing access to the single market and customs union has created huge barriers to trade with Europe, not to mention staff shortages, supply chain issues and more. 

    Yet business owners' struggles aren't being properly heard - not in the media, and not by politicians. 

    Our latest campaign is all about changing this. 

    Our Business Impact Survey is gathering data and stories from small and medium businesses (SMEs) up and down the country who are suffering in the aftermath of Brexit – all so that we can build pressure to undo this damage. 

    Together, we can give a voice to the thousands of businesses struggling because of Brexit and make the case that Britain is better off in the single market and customs union

    For more on how to complete the survey, and why we’re running it, here’s a short explainer video breaking down the campaign and how you can contribute: 

    So, if you're involved in business yourself, take our survey and share your experience. Or if you know anyone in business, get them involved and pass this on to them. The more perspectives we can hear, the more powerfully we can make our case. 

    For more information on our Business Impact survey, see our FAQs, or drop us a line at [email protected].

  • In a vote last week, on 28th March, the Senedd formally refused consent for the UK Government’s Retained EU Law Bill.  

    The Senedd has aligned with the Scottish Parliament in voting to withhold consent for the Retained EU Law Bill. This means the Bill does not have the support of the Welsh or Scottish governments. 

    The vote in the Senedd was a Legislative Consent Motion. This is a vote which is held if the UK government wishes to legislate on a subject matter which is a devolved issue.  

    In a statement from the Senedd, Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said the proposed legislation threatens food standards, environmental protections, workers’ rights, and business and consumer certainty. 

    “Both the Senedd and the Scottish Parliament have both been clear,” said Antoniw, “that this is an unacceptable encroachment on the democratically established devolution settlement.” 

    As it stands, the Retained EU Law Bill impacts over nearly 4,000 pieces of legislation. If passed as it is, the Bill would abolish all EU laws and standards still applicable in the UK at the end of 2023. This is known as the ‘sunset clause’, and we don’t know if the government has the time to decide on the future of each law by then. The Bill is currently at report stage in the House of Lords as part of the scrutiny process. 

    “We welcome the vote in the Senedd to drop the Retained EU Law Bill,” said Campaign Manager, Richard Kilpatrick, “at the last General Election, no one voted to give ministers this level of power over the laws and standards that we all take for granted. This wasn’t in the Conservative Party’s manifesto.  

    “The Senedd voted to drop this disastrous Bill, as did Holyrood, because it recognises that this Brexit government is putting so much at risk with this bonfire bill. Brexit was not a vote to slash our working conditions, environmental regulations or our quality of life. 

    “We call on people to join tens of thousands of others, as well as two devolved governments and an alliance of sitting MPs and members of the House of Lords, by signing our petition for the UK government to drop this Bill.” 

    European Movement UK demands the government drop the Retained EU Law Bill and instead focus on protecting our rights. Sign the petition to Save our Standards here. 

  • European Movement UK hosted a Market Access Campaign Webinar with former Business Secretary and Lib Dem Leader, Sir Vince Cable, business owner Ian Clark (Clarkshaws) and EM activists James Ryder (EM Wandsworth & Merton) and Luciana Ponzetta (Swindon for Europe) for the launch of our Market Access campaign. 

    Members joined us for a Q&A session about the impact that Brexit is having on the economy and on small businesses across the UK. 

    The webinar was an opportunity to empower our wider network of activist groups to engage with local businesses on the impact of Brexit, produce reports and begin a dialogue with important local and regional stakeholders. 

    Vince opened the event by speaking about the importance of engaging with business to identify how UK businesses are operating under the new Brexit reality. 

    “The business sector has not yet seen the most of it,” Cable continued, “as import restrictions are still to come.”  

    “This is why, to shift the argument,” said Cable, “we need concrete evidence of what’s happening on the ground. Such as this survey, which I’m impressed with.” 

    Following a Q&A with Cable, James Ryder from our EM group in Wandsworth and Merton presented the findings from their business survey of their local area. They used their Building Bridges funding to conduct a survey of 120 businesses, create a report from the data and launch their findings at an event attended by their MP. 

    We then heard from Ian Clark of Clarkshaws, a brewing company in Brixton, London, about the difficulties that his small business has faced with Brexit. 

    The session was then wrapped-up by Luciana Ponzetta, who spoke about how, off the success of EM Wandsworth & Merton’s survey, Swindon for Europe conducted their own survey of local businesses. 

    “We had engagement from people who voted Remain and Leave,” said Luciana, “and this is vital.” 

    Why are we running a Market Access campaign? 

    Businesses have borne the brunt of the fallout from the Withdrawal Agreement. According to the British Chambers of Commerce, 77% of businesses have said that the withdrawal agreement has not helped them to grow, 56% have struggled with new rules around trading goods and 45% with trading services.  

    Despite the clear evidence that Brexit is hurting our small and medium enterprises, their voices are seldom heard in the debates over the Retained EU Law Bill, the Northern Ireland Protocol and our future relationship with the EU. 

    Rishi Sunak recently said that Northern Ireland was the most exciting place in the world to invest because it has access to the EU and UK Single Markets, but there was a time, not so long ago, when that applied to the whole UK. 

    We know that Brexit isn’t working, and our businesses are suffering as a result. As a UK-wide, grassroots movement, European Movement UK has an important role to play in giving small and medium-sized businesses a voice in the growing debate over Brexit’s effects.  

    What’s next for the Market Access campaign? 

    We have produced a national level questionnaire for businesses, and this is launching in April 2023. 

    This questionnaire will ask businesses what they think about the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and how Brexit has affected their day-to-day business operations.  

    Our target is to gather at least 1000 responses from businesses. With this data, we can feedback the findings to our wider partners and stakeholders, such as at party conferences. 

    After this, we will organise a campaign day for the beginning of summer. 

    You can watch the webinar in full here. 

    The Building Bridges fund is open to all European Movement UK’s affiliated groups. If you want to learn how your group can take advantage of our Building Bridges fund, contact [email protected]. 

  • One year ago today, Russia began its illegal invasion of Ukraine. 

    Since then, death tolls have continued to rise, over 5 million Ukrainians have been displaced and, as a result, the refugee crisis in Europe has reached its highest levels since WWII.  

    The unprecedented level of courage, resolve and bravery we have seen is remarkable. And this is why I am writing today, because — together — as Europeans, as internationalists, and as fellow humans, Ukraine is with us, and we are with them. 

    With international support, Ukraine managed to survive the winter and earlier this month President Zelenskyy travelled – for the first time since Russia’s invasion began – to deliver speeches around Europe. First in Westminster and then in Brussels, where Zelensky announced to the European Parliament that Ukraine, one day, will join the European Union. 

    Last March our movement was invited to organise the UK with Ukraine rally in London, alongside the Mayor of London’s office. And what I said to the crowds in Trafalgar Square still rings true today, that the only route to a peaceful future is one where we unite with our neighbours in Europe and around the world.  

    What we have all seen over the last 12 months is that, in the face of Putin’s lethal campaign to annex parts of Ukraine, Europe is stronger when European nations work closely together. 

    In what has been a dark year, we have seen that freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights are the true values which unite our continent.  

    Putin gave a state-of-the-nation address on Tuesday morning ahead of today, the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine today. 

    "I want to repeat,” Putin told the world, “it is them who are culpable for the war, and we are using force to stop it."  

    He went on to announce that he will suspend Russia’s participation in New START, the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the US. 

    But such threats are not new.  

    Putin’s invasion of Ukraine underscores the importance of working across Europe to bolster our security and defence.  

    This is why The European Movement will continue to advocate for a closer relationship between the UK, Ukraine and the EU to defend our shared democracy and ensure Ukraine prevails. 

    Together, we must continue protecting and fighting for Ukraine's right to live in a peaceful and united Europe.