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Discussion Papers (series)

How will Brexit affect the Caribbean? Overview and indicative recommendations

Discussion Paper 199


Humphrey, E. 2016. How will Brexit affect the Caribbean? Overview and indicative recommendations. (Discussion Paper 199). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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On 23 June 2016, in a referendum on whether Britain should maintain its EU membership, 52% of British voters opted to leave the Union. The vote to exit the EU (Brexit) has given rise to political and economic uncertainty in the UK and raised concerns among its international partners.

The outcome of the referendum prompted the resignation of David Cameron as British Prime Minister and within eighteen days Theresa May emerged as the new leader of the Conservative party. Mrs. May took over as Prime Minister on 13 July and immediately indicated that Brexit will go ahead.

Nevertheless, political uncertainty continues to surround the Brexit process, with divergent views between EU leaders and Brexit advocates on the way forward. The vote to leave the EU has unsettled financial markets and the business community, leading to a deterioration of economic indicators and moving the Bank of England to introduce measures to stimulate growth. Uncertainty also reigns with respect to the post-Brexit trading arrangements between the UK and the EU as well as between the UK and all of its other partners, including the Caribbean.

In this paper, Errol Humphrey – former ambassador of Barbados to the European Union and Vice-Dean of the CARIFORUM College of negotiators for the Economic Partnership Agreement – explores how Brexit will affect the Caribbean.

Key messages

  • Brexit-induced uncertainty engulfs the UK and threatens its partners, including the Caribbean.
  • Caribbean-EU relations will remain intact until 2020, but assurances are needed on what will happen thereafter.
  • Brexit presents an opportunity for the Caribbean to explore new development paradigms.
  • Brexit could have significant negative impacts on the Caribbean. The region needs to consider options.

Read Discussion Paper 199

Download (PDF, 501KB)

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Economic recovery and transformationDiscussion Papers (series)BrexitCaribbeanEuropeUnited Kingdom

External authors

Errol Humphrey