HANOVER, Germany (June 28, 2016) — Continental A.G. CEO Elmar Degenhart has described the result of the United Kingdom's referendum to leave the European Union as a “cause of great concern” for the EU.
In a nationwide referendum on June 23, the U.K. voted to leave the EU, and is expected to start negotiations for its exit before year-end.
In a written statement provided to European Rubber Journal, Mr. Degenhart said “going it alone” goes against the very reason for founding the EU and was “not the answer to the challenges we face from global competition with America and Asia.”
As a business, however, Continental does not see a large impact by the decision.
“Brexit is expected to have only a limited economic impact on Continental. Less than 3 percent of our sales are generated in Great Britain,” Mr. Degenhart added, “and we expect to continue to sell our products there.”
However, he noted that it would “take years before Great Britain actually leaves the EU,” stating that the process of negotiating new trade agreements would cause political and economic uncertainty as well as “job cuts in London's financial district.”
Defending the “very idea of united Europe,” Mr. Degenhart said: “It appears that the original goals shared by the EU members are being forgotten.
“We cannot allow this to happen. It would be a disaster if discontent with the political and economic situation were to lead to the breakup of the EU.”
This report appeared on the website of European Rubber Journal, a United Kingdom-based sister publication of Tire Business.