The EU Referendum is a subject that has dominated UK media for the past two months, but the day has finally arrived for the British people to go to the polls. While CE Pro Europe remains neutral on the UK’s membership of the European Union, we reached out to some of the industry heavy-weights to give their opinion on what side of the fence they are.
While many companies declined to comment, there were a select few that felt passionate about the issue – with all of the companies and associations we contacted largely coming out in favour of the remain campaign.
Despite the support for remain, certain companies believe that no matter which way the vote goes, it will be business as usual. Of the companies that we contacted, not one steered from their commitment to the people of the UK or their distributors.
CE Pro Europe caught up with Crestron EMEA CEO, Robin van Meeuween. While support amongst most companies leaned towards remain, Robin was particularly passionate about the whole process:
“I don’t support leaving the EU. Why leave the EU? For the UK exports, it’s working. UK businesses are doing well out of EU trade relations. In a world which is becoming smaller and smaller, why go off on your own?
“Despite its many shortcomings, thanks to the EU, we haven’t seen any wars in Western Europe since the Second World War. This alone has tremendous value.
“The UK should stay in the EU and take up a stronger stance towards the organisation. Cut bureaucracy and red tape, have less focus on politics, more on business and industry. It is impossible to create a ‘standard thread’ (same working conditions and standards of living) across such a large multi-culturally diverse region.
‘If the UK leaves the EU, it would be at risk of losing its biggest trading partner, affecting UK businesses. UK business would suffer and the ‘global’ role of London would also be diminished.
“Leaving the EU is purely a nationalistic view and could cause a lot more harm than good. The UK must focus on remaining a strong member of the EU to shape its priorities, placing the emphasis on business.
“Our company is based on international trade across many continents, with many different trade agreements, tariffs etc. so from an operational stand point we will be able to adapt our logistics quickly. However we don’t know what impact the import tariffs would have, or how difficult the import process into the UK would become.
“In the end, whatever happens, our company is strong and flexible enough to deal with changes. However, the impact on UK investment, businesses and trade relations will be out of our control and something we cannot predict.”
Wendy Griffiths, executive director of CEDIA EMEA notes: “CEDIA represents companies in over 40 countries in EMEA, so the outcome of the EU referendum is vital, not only for CEDIA, but to the companies we represent within the EU. Being based in the UK, we deliver services to members throughout the EU and non-EU countries. Whatever the result of the referendum, we will continue to ensure that the level of service, communication and support to these members remains intact.”
The Trade Association Forum has made the following statement and it is one Wendy and CEDIA agrees with: “There are indeed parallels between the EU and trade associations when it comes to working with members, be they countries or companies. Looking at those parallels, the key challenge seems to be that of keeping the association (and indeed the EU) focused on the big picture issues and preventing a default into micro-management that may be emotionally satisfying but does nothing to advance the overall interest. If this can be combined with maintaining good relations with the key decision makers within companies, then the association will be well placed to thrive.”
Control4’s Troy Holtby, director of international sales for Control4 didn’t feel as strongly either side of the argument. Noting: “We are closely monitoring the situation and the vote, but our commitment to the region will remain unchanged regardless of the outcome. Control4 is committed to supporting our dealers and end customers worldwide, we will continue to maintain facilities, employees and their charter in both the UK and in Europe to provide the services and support necessary to help dealers grow and provide world-class products and services to their customers.”
Atlona’s response was also one a commitment to its UK partners, with a company spokesperson noting: “For a variety of reasons, I don’t believe Brexit would have any direct negative consequences to Atlona, but it could certainly interfere with the businesses of Atlona’s distribution and installation partners in the UK.”
Ronni Guggenheim, general manager of Atlona International however, felt stronger about the EU Referendum – highlighting a key principle for the company: “We, at Atlona, follow the ‘be global, act local’ principle. As such, borders are obstacles which translate into direct cost of conducting business.
“The objective of the EU is reducing borders and obstacles to trade and with the UK potentially leaving the EU, it would increase the complexity of conducting business on the British island.
“From a business perspective, a UK as part of EU is far preferable and it would be a shame to abolish all the achievements obtained so far by turning a formerly fragmented Europe into one major economic zone without limitations.”
Adrian Ickeringill, EMEA general manager for Wyrestorm, did not mince his words – stating that it is “essential” that the UK remain part of the EU.
“From my perspective Wyrestorm is selling into the EMEA market with over 40 customers in the EU. It is essential that we remain part of the EU from my perspective as it retains the free trade agreements, low cost travel and simplicity of trade without barriers, with our neighbouring nations.
“I think for the ongoing prosperity of the country and future of our children, we should continue an active involvement in the EU as a leading nation.”
Chris Pinder, co-founder of HD Connectivity, felt strongly about the issue surrounding the European Union: “I concur with this guy…”
EU Referendum Facts
Polls remain open in the EU Referendum until 10pm on June 23, with the vote still very much expected to be neck and neck.
Results are not expected to begin trickling in until 2:30AM on June 24, with the final result likely to be made at around 7:30AM on June 24.
A record 46.4m people are registered to vote in what is only the third referendum in UK history – with a vote on EU membership previously having been made in 1975.
Unlike a general election, every vote counts – with whichever camp gets more than half of all the votes cast to be declared the winner. It’s for this reason that, although the CE Pro Europe editorial department will remain neutral on the matter, we implore you to go out and vote.