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Brussels home to only 3% of Brexit business moves

12:59 16/04/2021

Brussels only walked away with 15 of the more than 500 business entities that opened or were enhanced in the EU over the last few years because of Brexit.

In the lead-up to the UK leaving the EU, some 440 British businesses moved part of their activities to an EU city in order to avoid tariffs or alter their supply chain. Some of those businesses chose to open entities in more than one placed, with more than 500 total moves across the EU.

Some 3% of those moves happened in Brussels, which puts the capital of Europe in seventh place, after Dublin (25%), Paris (19%), Luxemburg City (17%), Frankfurt (12%), Amsterdam (9%) en Madrid (4%). The figures come from the London thinktank New Financial.

Corporations that chose to operate part of their activities out of Brussels include insurance giant Lloyd’s of London, cash transfer company MoneyGram and stock exchange Euronext.

Finance and taxes

Dublin being in first place comes as no surprise: It is now the only English-speaking country in the EU and it also has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe. Frankfurt and Luxembourg are European financial hubs, attractive to banking, exchange and insurance firms.

Other cities coming in ahead of Brussels – which would seem to have much to offer a company in need of an EU presence – are more complex. Some companies already had entities in certain cities and simply moved more of its activities to the same location.

Others looked at tax rates, and other were wooed by marketing campaigns. Paris, for instance, launched an appeal to financial institutions to move to the city of lights immediately after the 2016 referendum.

According to New Financial, the total economic activity that has moved from the UK to other countries is at least €1 trillion – and probably more.

Photo ©Eric Lalmand/BELGA


Written by Lisa Bradshaw