This week some of us are going to Berlin for the Euromat Summit. As most people know, Euromat is a loose federation of national coin machine trade associations in Europe. I say “loose” because some countries seem to drift in and drift out of membership, like France for example.
The bedrock members are in reality those who operate within the European Union. That gives rise of course to all kinds of questions, notably the status of the UK in all of that. As far as Euromat is concerned, it should make little difference.
Yes, one of the original basic concepts behind Euromat was to keep a watching brief on legislation emerging from the corridors of power in Brussels. Will the Brits still be interested in Euromat once out of the clutches of those in the corridors of power in Brussels?
That’s up to the British association, BACTA. In my view, it does little harm to keep a watching brief on what’s going on “over there.” And the cross-pollination of ideas on machine operating and machine legislation that comes from these summits will also do the UK association no harm and relatively little cost.
Will there be other impacts from Brexit? Who knows? The details have yet to be thrashed out. I cannot believe that the EC will want to ostracise the UK – after all the EC countries sell more of their goods to the UK than the UK sells in the other direction. Will Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Renault, Citroen and Fiat all happily dispense with British buyers? I don’t think so.
But for our industry? Britain is relatively self-sufficient in manufacturing capabilities, but we do like those cabinets from Gauselmann, a company that has invested heavily in the UK and probably therefore remains shocked that the Brits (me included, I make no secret of it) voted out. I believe, however, that their investment is secure, for the street market and the AGCs are not going to go away and their cabinets can be built just as easily in the UK as they can in Lübbecke.
There are other issues, of course, and we don’t know what tariffs, if any, will be imposed on cross-border selling, but I have a sneaking suspicion that both sides will realise that there is little to be achieved by “punishment” or “hard Brexit.”
Whether it will be a topic for the debating chamber in Berlin this week remains to be seen. I believe it will be alluded to, but in what terms?