Brexit has a number of implications for companies operating in the UK as well as for company law and corporate governance in both that country and the EU.

  • Firstly, at the end of the transition period (currently 31 December 2020), the EU’s freedom of establishment will end in the UK, potentially ‘trapping’ foreign businesses that incorporated in the UK. This policy brief argues that individual Member States should provide for temporary recognition of these companies until they can ‘return’.
  • Secondly, the UK might – depending on its obligations under any agreement on the future relationship to align with the EU – water down or remove worker involvement rights in the EU acquis. Trade unions in the UK should continue to defend these worker involvement rights, as well as continue to resist further drift in the direction of shareholder primacy corporate governance.
  • Thirdly, the EU now has an important opportunity to move towards a corporate governance system that takes account of different stakeholder interests and steers companies towards greater sustainability. Trade unions should push for and support this transition. However, this will not be easy because the UK was not the only obstacle to moving EU policy in this direction.
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