BERLIN, June 26 (Xinhua) — Almost a third of German companies expected the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the European Union (EU) without a negotiated deal, according to a survey conducted jointly by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the accounting firm and service network Deloitte.
In their fifth Brexit survey published Friday, the BDI and Deloitte asked 248 German companies with business connections to the UK about their expectations of the ongoing negotiations and how they themselves would prepare for Brexit.
“Without an extension of the negotiation period, there are only around 180 days left until the end of the transition period, which is not much,” said Alexander Boersch, chief economist at Deloitte.
“For the most part, the German economy also feels well prepared for a worst-case scenario, yet a considerable number of companies expect high losses,” Boersch said. Europe is “very important” to German companies, many of which fear the disintegration of the EU as a result of Brexit.
Last week, the European Commission said that the UK was not interested in extending the transition period, which ends on Dec. 31, 2020. While talks should intensify in July, the negotiating parties conceded that “new momentum was required.”
Following a video conference of EU leaders last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the importance of the ongoing negotiations with the UK.
If the negotiations fail, 30 percent of German companies expect to see jobs cut in Germany. The losses are expected to be the greatest in the banking industry, while the automotive industry appears to be better prepared and expects less severe economic damage.
For more than half of German companies, Brexit is also opportunity to strengthen Germany as a business location. Forty-four percent of the companies surveyed even expected Germany to become more attractive to foreign investors.
“Our companies are watching the Brexit negotiations very closely,” concluded Joachim Lang, head of the BDI, and warned that the “sluggish progress of negotiations” would make “important investment decisions more difficult.”