A survey of European businesses, published today (8 November 2017) by EUROCHAMBRES, has revealed that Brexit is not considered a concern for most companies. The survey, which was conducted in autumn 2017 and had over 50,000 respondents from 23 countries across Europe, asked businesses to rank the main challenges they believed they faced in 2018. While Irish firms identified the impact of Brexit as the biggest challenge to the development of their business only 9.2% of European businesses registered Brexit as a challenge at all.

Commenting on the results, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland and Deputy President of Eurochambres said, “This survey confirms that Irish businesses are feeling significantly more exposed to the impact of Brexit than businesses in the rest Europe. While it is not surprising that Brexit is a priority for Irish business given our proximity to the UK and the importance of our trading relationship, it is alarming that businesses across Europe are not more concerned by the potential impact of the loss of the EU’s second biggest market.”

“From our engagement with our European partners we knew that for many countries Brexit was a peripheral issue. They are more concerned with the provision of security for their citizens, job creation and the economic security of the Euro zone.However, we believe there is a role to play for Ireland’s business community to help our counterparts in Europe understand that unless a practical approach to Brexit negotiations is adopted, we all stand to lose out in terms of reduced economic growth, investment and jobs.”

Key findings of EES 2018:

  • Lack of skilled workers ranks 2nd (compared to 4th last year) among the challenges for 2018.
  • The prospect of Brexit is the number 1 challenge only for Irish businesses, scoring much lower in most of the other EES 2018 participating countries.
  • Domestic sales expectations rise slightly compared to last year, but seemingly remain a source of uncertainty for businesses, as domestic demand is again ranked the top challenge.
  • Export sales within and beyond the EU are higher than in 2017, despite the uncertain geo-political situation.
  • Employment expectations exceed the levels of the pre-crisis period for the first time.
  • Investment forecasts continue their upward trend, reflecting improving financing conditions and persisting low interest rates.


About the European Economic Survey

The EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey (EES) is an annual qualitative survey of business expectations across Europe. The survey is implemented by the network of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and co-ordinated by EUROCHAMBRES.

The questionnaire focuses on five economic indicators: business confidence, domestic sales, exports, employment and investment, as well as on challenges.

For EES 2018, around 50,000 businesses from 23 countries responded during autumn 2017.

Businesses from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey participated in the survey.

Over 200 companies in Ireland participated in the survey.

The EES findings will be launched in Brussels on Wednesday 8th November.


EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2018 – full report

EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2018 – infographic