Categories: Europe, Maritime UKPublished On: 01.04.2019338 words1.7 min read

It hasn’t escaped the notice of us on the other side of the Channel that the situation in which the UK currently finds itself looks chaotic at best. Indeed, like most looking on from the continent, we hope for a timely resolution to the ongoing Brexit turbulence, not only so we can look to the future but so we can begin to address the other pressing matters affecting our daily lives. On both sides, we’ve invested heavily in preparing for “no deal”; money and focus better directed to other challenges.

Just as the European Network of Maritime Clusters hopes to avoid a “no deal”, we (Maritime UK) do not want to crash out of the bloc without an agreement.

Harry Theochari
Chair of Maritime UK

The frustration felt by all concerned parties, from Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel to the hundreds of thousands, possibly a million who marched for a ‘People’s Vote’, is to be expected. Whether you voted for Leave or Remain in 2016, we do not need to remind ourselves that no country has ever left the European Union, and our negotiations have – to put it mildly – not been the prettiest: Mistakes have been made on both sides.

But it really is worth restating that we have far more in common than we’ve often thought over the past three years. And that’s why we must put aside our (small) differences. We are all hoping for a solution to this complex situation that works for both sides of the Channel, and that requires cooperation and compromise. We Brits rely on the EU for a great deal of trade as does the EU rely on the UK. Beyond trade, we work closely on research and innovation and in areas like security. It’s in both our interests to maintain and strengthen that relationship.

Harry Theochari is the chair of Maritime UK and the global head of transport at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright

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