Experts debate impact of Britain’s EU departure at The Centre for Brexit Studies in Birmingham

Experts have been debating how the UK’s decision to leave the European Union will impact on the country as part of the launch of a new centre at Birmingham City University.

Among the topics debated at The Centre for Brexit Studies was the way the economy, society and democracy will be affected.

Academics working at the site said the impact on costs, expertise and time would be major difficulties caused by departing the EU.

But Prof Paul Forrest, from Birmingham City University said it was unlikely the financial services market would move to another European city en masse: “It is likely we would leave the EU without any agreement, due to lack of time.

“Frankly, no city in the EU has the capacity to absorb the financial services market of London. Most probably, if they have to move, it will be to New York or Singapore.”

The need to take on some of the roles currently carried out by the European Union were also discussed.

Prof Robert Lee, from Birmingham City University’s School of Law, said: “Air quality in Birmingham is a real issue and is responsible for many premature deaths.

“Regarding environmental laws, the UK will require to apply internal regulations because for the last 40 years it has not done much. All the legwork was done by the the EU.”

“Around 80% of environmental law is there because we were in the European Union. But how much does that reflect what we would have wanted? If you look at a lot of the EU environmental law, actually it had a single purpose – to support free trade. It was to provide a level playing field of competition so that a market without borders could produce economic growth.”

Prof Forrest said it was important Birmingham made Brexit work for the city.

“Making Brexit a success is not an option,” he said. “It is a must – we cannot make it a failure.

“With the West Midlands having one of the strongest performances in export in the UK, it is crucial that it will be involved in the negotiations”

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