back to article Not auf wiedersehen – yet! The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech

After Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016, there was a flurry of articles about how London's tech startups, shocked by the prospect of Brexit, could soon decamp to cheap, fun Berlin. German politicians fed the hype. The Berlin authorities opened a new trade office in London explicitly to capitalise on Brexit uncertainty …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    There are more levels than that

    I started sorting out our BrExit alternatives and had the person in the passenger seat (the SWMBO) yank the handbrake for the time being.

    When you have two kids in school at least one of them will be within a year or two of exams either here or in the "retreat location". You really do not want to move them at that point. Though at some point a lot of us will have to - there are at present 4-8 job openings in Eu versus UK and that ratio is continuing to grow.

    So if the current trends continue, the SWMBO will let go off the handbake. Leaving the politics aside it is pure economics - the businesses are voting with their feet, err R&D budgets. We will have no choice but to follow - there are families to feed.

    As far as locations, Berlin is not bad by the way - they have been rebuilding it at a frantic pace for the last 20 years. There are better places though. All of them massively advertising too - Stockholm, Dublin, etc are all taking slots and spreads on both Internet and printed media. Can't blame them too - it is not personal, it is business.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: There are more levels than that

      Dublin has the advantage (for UK residents), that they speak English, so you don't need to learn a new language to do business there.

      In Germany, you are very much in the hands of regulations, which is great for employees, not so much for employers working to tight deadlines. The 40 hour week is pretty much standard and not exceeding a rolling-average of 48 hour weeks means that putting in hours for a deadline for a couple of weeks is fine, but bad planning isn't something you can get around by making people work ridiculous hours every week, like you seem to be able to do in Silicon Valley, for example. If your employees work long hours for a project, then you have to accept that they will need to come later or go home earlier in the weeks following, to reduce the number of hours in the "overtime account."

      Berlin isn't the only place to go either. Munich is very cosmopolitan and very media savvy, but more expensive than Berlin. Frankfurt is good for finance based startups. But why, in an online world, do the businesses need to be centered around major cities?

      As to things like credit cards, the Germans still shun credit and, generally, the credit card is linked directly to your bank account and 100% of the balance is transferred at the end of the month and if you don't have enough in your account, then it goes against your overdraught.

      Given that and credit card doesn't really bring any advantages to paying with a debit card or cash, but retailers have to pay higher transaction charges, it isn't really a surprise that credit cards aren't widely accepted. I use mine purely for buying online - although many German online stores will allow you to pay on invoice or cash in advance, if you don't have a credit card.

      German credit cards also, generally, don't offer any additional protections over normal debit cards or cash, in terms of purchase insurance etc. that, for example, UK credit cards offered (when I was in the UK, not sure if that is still a thing).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There are more levels than that

        Fair comments. I am one of the co-founders of a very small analytics business in Edinburgh. Primarily tools and consulting, mainly manufacturing, some banking and some government/defence work. As of about 5 months ago, we think 50% of our workforce are EU citizens relatively recently based in the UK, all well qualified, we decided to actively look at mainland European bases primarily because of the perceived hostility from Britain. This was exacerbated by the fact that many of the staff are married or partners with EU bases. The occasional headline from the Daily Fail or the Grauniad either damning workers or reporting on another group of children born in the UK to EU citizens being denied permanent residence did not help.These are mobile workers, all highly skilled. They are also all shareholders to greater or leesser degrees.

        I've spent the last month in Germany and we have had extremely good support in Berlin. We have now negotiated offices - significantly reduced rent for the first 18 months, which might support some of the cost off the moves, we will take a big hit and as we don't and have never practiced a policy of exploiting easy regulation to deal with demand ebb and flow, the employment laws are very relaxed. Taxes will be a bit higher, but support from the local technical university looks promising. 7 people are transferring after school terms end this summer.

        Now we might be (probably are) a little unusual - very skilled demanding work although reasonable hours. A lot of good will (expand when we ned to but everyone mucks in when necessary and so we have expanded very slowly to meet demand (profit based bonuses for all and a stake in the organisation means that there is a lot of willing).

        Germany won't change any of our EU business - actually having continued free access to commissioning bodies in the EU will be a bonus.Employees in the UK will also remain stable as long as they wish to be.

        Now we are atypical, no more than 100 employees, almost all with PhD/MSc level qualification in technical subjects and many/most with two languages. We are not big, but we really do pay a great deal of tax! With knock on effects to the local economy.

        Just my observations as one of the larger shareholders and a founder, but it is not going to get better in the UK.

        In our case this will be a drain on the UK economy. And Edinburgh really is a very nice base But het, Germany (even with <10% staff based there our 37% on our our business) is pleasant, civilised and if you can move (and most people with transferrable skills can) attractive. Although not without some problems - what major city does not it seems good.

        Let you know know 18 months time about the reality. But my partner is Norwegian, she likes Edinburgh but might not be averse to a move back to the continental mainland.

        1. Bogle

          Re: There are more levels than that

          > I am one of the co-founders of a very small analytics business in Edinburgh

          So, not waiting for the (increasingly likely) IndeyRef 2 or Scotland becoming Canada's 11th province?

          If Scotland *had* gone for independence already just imagine how many firms would be thinking about a quick jump north of the border. Culture's pretty similar and you'll pick up the language in no time.

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: There are more levels than that

            So, not waiting for the (increasingly likely) IndeyRef 2

            May I remind you that the referendum has to be allowed by Westminster and the only way Josephina Vissarionovich will allow it will be if hell freezes over. While it may have started to happen (snow in late April), it has not happened just yet.

            So, for the time being, Edinburgh is not a safe bet. In fact the opposite - as outside the Eu as possible and getting the funding a red headed stepchild who "voted wrong" will get.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: There are more levels than that

              May I remind you that the referendum has to be allowed by Westminster and the only way Josephina Vissarionovich will allow it will be if hell freezes over.

              There are some people in Crimea who might be able to advise on that. [Not that I'm suggesting the EU would send over some men in unmarked uniforms to help with the count].

              Incidentally small point; should be Teresa Yosifovna Vissarionovicha. No Th in Russian so any confusion with the original Teresa May is bound to occur.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: There are more levels than that

            Actually that is a good point. And if Scotland remained within the eurozone that might change things. I have lots of problems with the SNP and their attitude, but although it would be difficult for 5-10 years, it might be the making of a modern Scotland

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: There are more levels than that

              but as pointed out above, there is an IF. A big one. And we have only shifted about 8% of our staff (on their request) although that might well increase. Edinburgh has a lot of advantage (other than some of the rather - he says looking out of the window) and excellent transport links are part of the positive.

          3. H in The Hague Silver badge

            Re: There are more levels than that

            "... you'll pick up the language in no time"

            As long as you don't have to deal with Doric. (German would be a lot easier.)

            I used to know a guy from a small village outside Aberdeen who followed his wife here. He complained he couldn't get a job in NL and couldn't understand why. I politely tried to explain that many Dutch folk might find it a bit difficult to understand him. Suggested he try a more standard variety of English - but he couldn't. Never had the heart to tell him that the English guys on the club team couldn't understand him either, and the one Scotsman (different part of Scotland) found it difficult. Eventually I managed to understand about one word in two he said and was v proud of that. An interesting combination of Scots dialect vocabulary and pronunciation.

        2. streaky Silver badge

          Re: There are more levels than that

          Literally no way Scotland gets an indyref before UK leaves the EU, even hell freezing over won't do it - and the EU won't let Scotland in post that because their economy makes even less sense than Japan's does.

          FWIW moving your company because of the front page of the mail is daft.

          Once the UK leaves the EU it'll be much easier to get non-EU skilled migration into the UK and skilled EU migration to the UK isn't going to be anything significant in terms of visas, think I've said it before, the US visa system is extremely over engineered and it's never been a problem for skilled workers nor academics to get visas. Trump might be an exception to that but he's an extreme exception and it's still fairly easy.

          EU's problem is free movement of people creates free movement of labour rather than free movement of skills (right now the UK needs skills not labour and we're getting labour not skills in contrast to Germany who need labour more than skills - generalisation but in numbers terms it's true). There's been a lot of data recently showing that EU migrants to the UK are vastly overqualified for the jobs they're doing and that's what's creating the friction. Once it can be brought under some semblance of control it'll finally be possible to find the right balance. We can't do that from within the EU.

          What none of these cities have that London does is infrastructure, and those cities just aren't capable of resolving that. You can't just pick up a chunk of London and dump it in Dublin or Frankfurt or anywhere else, nor spread it around, it doesn't work like that and that's borne out by the numbers.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            FAIL

            "it'll be much easier to get non-EU skilled migration into the UK"

            Given that 1/2 of the UK net migration is from non EU countries (the stuff the Home Office could control, if it wanted to and it's management were not a bunch of incompetent motherf***ers) what makes you think this is a problem now?

            1. yoganmahew

              Re: "it'll be much easier to get non-EU skilled migration into the UK"

              "The 40 hour week is pretty much standard and not exceeding a rolling-average of 48 hour weeks means that putting in hours for a deadline for a couple of weeks is fine, but bad planning isn't something you can get around by making people work ridiculous hours every week"

              Ireland is also signed up to the working time directive, which is where those rights come from.

          2. Stork Bronze badge

            Re: There are more levels than that

            Part of the problem for long term EU residents in the UK is documentation, and I can easily imagine how.

            When I arrived in the UK in 92' all I had to do was to show my passport - company sorted NI and tax number, and for the first couple of years I did not have a utility bill in my name. As long as I did not own a house, no-one official were interested in where I lived. Thus, there was no official proof (other than NI payments) that I was there.

            Most other countries (I am in my 5th European country now) require you to register with authorities, and one of the benefits is that there is no discussion whether you were resident or not. Utility bills are only used between you and the utility.

            We (my wife and I) both felt extremely welcome in the UK, in my 5 years I met one person who grumbled about foreigners and jobs, mnmnn. But I do have the impression the atmosphere has changed and by now we do not regret we left.

            1. streaky Silver badge

              Re: There are more levels than that

              Munich is one of the most cultural cities in Germany, it has great elegance, good schools, including a choice of international schools, universities that teach degree courses in English. The night life is varied, and safe, it has an invigorating climate, and is a terrific base for outdoor pursuits and exploring Europe.

              Sounds like a great place to, erm, do business? Management Mecca no doubt - but we're talking about people doing actual work producing actual economic value. FWIW London has all those things too and at least 60% of the population speak English.

              On EU migration numbers the only thing we know for sure is the ONS migration numbers are a massive underestimate. Literally nobody knows how many EU citizens are living/working in the UK.

              Also again - the key here is finding a migration balance and being able to control immigration where it's causing a problem in specific sectors and specific social issues - and then being able to vote for somebody else if the government of the day isn't getting it right.

              But I do have the impression the atmosphere has changed and by now we do not regret we left.

              Impression. On the right we have the mail doing what the mail does and on the left you have the guardian making shit up to make everybody feel bad - and the foreign press' take on it is even more hilarious. Impression. Different people feel different effects of migration - I live in London and I think the immigration makes it a better more interesting city, then I visit the north east where I'm from to see family and I see the utter catastrophe that has happened up there and everybody knows why - and then overlay the sentiment on the brexit map. Unskilled workers can't afford to live in London is the simplest explanation of why it's an issue I can come up with.

              Everybody who loses out feels personally harmed by it, and it doesn't have to be this way there's an alternative option. I don't have a hard time seeing why everybody in London is pro unconstrained immigration, it's the fact they've forgotten there's a whole country out there.

              1. big_D Silver badge

                Re: There are more levels than that

                Munich came out top of the crime report this week, it is the major city with the least crime.

                Berlin comes out worst.

                And a lot of people live in Munich, who actually produce things. There are a lot of factories and office blocks around the city and its suburbs, including BMW, Siemens and several other major international brands.

                It is probably one of the better cities for living in, if you don't speak German, the other being Frankfurt, from my experience.

                One of the nice things is that, until very recently, no building could be higher than the Fraunkirche, so there is a complete derth of tower blocks in the city itself, so it has kept its charm.

                1. streaky Silver badge

                  Re: There are more levels than that

                  Munich is a city of 2 million people. That is not a major city. Large sure - about the same as Manchester - but not major.

                  Also you misunderstand I didn't say nobody produces things there - I was suggesting your reasons for moving there are an irrelevance. I have no doubt there's lots of German business in Germany, meanwhile Siemens are investing massively in the UK.

                  1. big_D Silver badge

                    Re: There are more levels than that

                    Actually, it is 1.1 million and that makes it the 3rd largest city in Germany.

                    Hamburg is 2nd with 1.5 million and Berlin the largest with 3.6 million.

                    1. mahasamatman

                      Re: There are more levels than that

                      @big_D .. a bit of Googling provides the real numbers:

                      Last counted population of Munich (City) in March 2017 is: 1545405

                      (Aktueller Bevölkerungsbestand zum 31. März 2017: 1 545 105 Personen)

                      The larger urban zone (outskirts) brings has over 2.5 million and the metropolitan area around 6 million.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "I'd definitely recommend it, but it would be difficult if you didn't have a German speaker,"

        And given the UK's tradition of s**t language teaching that is likely to remain so.

        Dublin is likely to be preferred British option.

      3. Uberseehandel

        Re: There are more levels than that

        The attractions of Munich, as a base for a Hi-tech business are considerable.

        Forget the Oktoberfest, Munich is one of the most cultural cities in Germany, it has great elegance, good schools, including a choice of international schools, universities that teach degree courses in English. The night life is varied, and safe, it has an invigorating climate, and is a terrific base for outdoor pursuits and exploring Europe.

        As far as start-ups are concerned, it is already one of Europe's most important research and hi-tech hubs. The sorts of services required by start-ups are on the door step. Direct connections to London, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Singapore and most other tech centres are plentiful, unlike Berlin (which can't even build itself an airport).

        As an enviably pleasant place to live, property prices are higher than say, Berlin,which is a reflection on the comparative desirability and convenience of the two cities. To put it into context, on German reunification, a number of businesses and institution refused to move back to Berlin, despite government pressure for them to do so.

        I never had any issues with bank/debit/credit cards in Germany. But then credit card debt is dumb debt, so perhaps the Germans know a thing or two about the matter. If one is not a natural planner and budgeter, then expect to be regarded as irresponsible. Cautious and thrifty German habits are easily acquired. Cash is king, use that to your advantage.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There are more levels than that

      One thing people are not talking about is the hoards of immigrants causing trouble, including assault, rape and murder, across Germany, which the disloyal German media often fail to report, caused by the disloyal policies of the German 'progressive' 'leadership' and establishment; do you really want a wife or children having to deal with that threat?

      I would not want to be in any country with such disloyal 'progressive' immigration policies as German, Sweden, France, Holland, Norway.. etc.! The UK fortunately has less 'progressive' politics, so is not as far down that dangerous path.

      Progressive is just a deceptive alias for degenerate Cultural Marxist disciples of the evil Jewish Frankfurt School (e.g. Political Correctness, 'Racism', 'Gender', 'Sexism' etc.,) and useful idiot SJWs and antiFa, who may not know that its Common Purpose is to make covert cultural warfare on host countries to conquer them for covert Jewish rule.

      BTW, anyone who suggests that I'm anti-semitic is a fool, because most Jews have no Semite blood, even Jewish genetics scientists have said this, thus they also have no valid historical claim on the areas some call Israel and Palestine!

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: There are more levels than that

        One thing people are not talking about is the hoards of immigrants causing trouble, including assault, rape and murder, across Germany, which the disloyal German media

        Gee... which bridge did you get from under? Definitely not from under one of those on the Spree near Tiergarten though.

        I was in Berlin last year and there is something about integrating and swallowing immigrants Germans can and should teach the UK. There is no ifs, no buts, no coconuts - the only allowed answer to "Sprechen sie Deutsch?" is a choice of "Ya" or "Ya". Even after swallowing 1M refugees in less than 2 years (which as Mutter noted we are guilty of causing), Germany is still more integrated and less visible than Luton, Bradford or even parts of London like most of Barking and Dagenham. It also does not allow any form of religious justice (while UK by the way does).

        I am just going to ignore the rest of your rant. You definitely need meds. Badly.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Voland's right hand Re: There are more levels than that

      ".....Stockholm...." Er, no! Just check out the Scandinavian winters for a good reason why not to.

      "....Dublin...." Much better option than Berlin on just about every point, plus the fact it's a lot closer so you can just pop back to Blighty for a visit without it being a major journey. The one problem is Ireland is one of the PIGS, and will suffer when the wheels fall off the EU wagon. Indeed, Germany only currently has a booming economy because the EU allows it to dominate the PIGS and the rest of Southern Europe. What will cause Germany future problems is when the PIGS and the rest of Southern Europe stop buying German export goods. Just look at how acutely the Germans reacted to the Greek mess to understand how the whole German banking system and economy depend on there being a supine EU for Germany to sell to.

      Personally, Barcelona tops the list. Berlin wouldn't even be on it.

  2. Bogle

    Privacy

    There're difficulties in relocating and you're brave to set up in another language and culture but a distinct advantage of Germany is their strong privacy legislation. This could be a significant plus point for some (especially when compared to the UK).

    Go, while the getting is good?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Privacy

      There are plenty of other advantages:

      1. Most major cities are a couple of light years ahead of UK in terms of public transport

      2. The rules governing the employee-employer are not amended whenever the government sees fit (the way Cameron and Osborn defanged TUPE).

      3. The education system is mostly FREE.

      4 ...

      A lot of this applies to most of the EU, it is simply a matter of doing the math (and facepalming after you have tallied the numbers).

      1. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Privacy

        Most major cities are a couple of light years ahead of UK in terms of public transport

        I'm gonna assume this is some sort of funny joke.. Have you been to a major city ever?

        The rules governing the employee-employer are not amended whenever the government sees fit (the way Cameron and Osborn defanged TUPE).

        Did the Tories touch tupe? They floated reform but I don't think it went anywhere? Tupe is simply the implementation of 2001/21/EC regardless.

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Privacy

      Er, privacy regs and laws are the same across the EU.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Privacy

        Bu they will not stay so with Britain outside - and if you want to do business within a larger economy.....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Privacy

        Er, privacy regs and laws are the same across the EU.

        Not quite, although there are large similarities because they indeed derive from the same guidance.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        FAIL

        "Er, privacy regs and laws are the same across the EU."

        No.

        The regulations are.

        The laws that implement them are not.

        As El Reg has reported the UK DP law is so bad that the ICO refused an information request on the grounds that disclosure could damage the whole Brexit negotiation process.

      4. mahasamatman

        Re: Privacy

        No, they're not.

  3. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Why Berlin?

    You're trying to relocate tech into an already heavily built-up city in population, economic and government terms. Aren't there smaller, less costly alternatives in Germany? How about outside Dusseldorf, which has good airport connections.

    Its like trying to coax startups into costly London. It will never become a true tech hub, because there isn't really room for a tech hub between the government and the finance industry.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Why Berlin?

      Exactly. I live near Osnabruck. It is a great area, lots of unspoilt countryside, relatively cheap (I got a 100 Sq.M loft in a nearby town for 400€ a month). Internet is acceptable (100mbps is around 50€ a month) and it is direct on the A1 between Dortmund and Hamburg.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Why Berlin?

      Start up areas tend to benefit from network effects: once somewhere is established it attracts other parts of the eco-system, which help employees move between companies or create their own. Berlin's attraction was not just cheap rents, but also the ability to attract quality programmers and engineers from Poland and elsewhere.

      That said, start ups also tend to congregate around other existing business areas, which is why Düsseldorf also has its fair share (telecoms, fintech, etct.) as do Munich and Frankfurt. London's scene is almost entirely dependent upon money from the investment sector and if that moves, it will. But don't expect any major announcements until the necessary deals have been done.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Why Berlin?

        Don't forget the "Speciality clubs" that Berlin is famous for. Allegedly.

      2. Ocular Sinister

        Re: Why Berlin?

        I know its hard to believe, but bankers aren't the only people that like night life. The reason I chose Berlin post-Brexit (besides speaking passable German) was excellent night life on the same level as London. I've visited a few other cities in Germany, and while they're not exactly sleepy, they don't compare with Berlin.

        (And, yes, some of those clubs are a bit 'special'...)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why Berlin?

      "Its like trying to coax startups into costly London. It will never become a true tech hub, because there isn't really room for a tech hub between the government and the finance industry."

      I suspect the finance industry might be freeing up some space.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

    This will be an easier move whilst we're still in Europe, but supposing you move your company to Berlin tomorrow, and in two years time the Article 50 machinations are over, and the UK has properly left Europe. What would be the legal position of your company, your staff and you in Berlin at that point?

    Are the German authorities planning to offer a fast track citizenship programme as well?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

      EU citizens can get unrestricted residence permits pretty easily and, once you have one (and you must apply in order to stay in the country), applying for citizenship is pretty straightforward.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

      As long as you can speak and write German, have a place of residence and you are in full time employment, you can apply for citizenship (there are a few other requirements as well, but those are the main ones).

      1. ZSn

        Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

        "As long as you can speak and write German, have a place of residence and you are in full time employment, you can apply for citizenship (there are a few other requirements as well, but those are the main ones)."

        I thought that it took three years and that if your second nationality at the time of getting the German one is not an EU nationailty then you have to give it up. I.e. of you started now you couldn't keep the British one, or have I got that wrong?

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

          I think you may be correct, but as I have the right to an Irish passport (recently acquired the documents), I am pretty happy with the German approach.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

          I thought that it took three years and that if your second nationality at the time of getting the German one is not an EU nationailty then you have to give it up. I.e. of you started now you couldn't keep the British one, or have I got that wrong?

          The requirement to give up the other nationality has recently been relaxed. It's difficult anyway as many countries will not allow citizens to return their passports. I don't know anything about the three year rule but I don't see things changing much until the UK has officially left, which might be some years hence because leaving the EU is so fucking difficult. This is probably the main reason for May calling the election: a bigger majority might give her a more pliable parliamentary party (yeah, right), but it also puts the subsequent general election back to 2022 by which point people might not care so much that regarding Europe very little has changed. One nice aspect of the current SNAFU is that the ECJ is likely going remain the arbiter of any settlement.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

            The requirement to give up the other nationality has recently been relaxed. It's difficult anyway as many countries will not allow citizens to return their passports.

            There's also the issue that forcing a citizen to give up a nationality may deprive them of their rights.

            I am glad my son has 3 passports: one EU from my nationality, one from his mother and a UK one, and he's legally allowed to keep all three when he becomes 18.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

      Are the German authorities planning to offer a fast track citizenship programme as well?

      This has been tabled by several politicians there. It was put on the backburner to see if it will be necessary (depending on the level to which Josephina Vissarionovich May will screw Britain in her quest for personal dictatorship).

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

        I must protest about your appalling slur on the good name of our Prime Minister and insist you correct it: her name is Josephina Vissarionovna May.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

          >Josephina Vissarionovna May.

          Althouth it would take somebody pretty brave to check

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech...

            "Althouth it would take somebody pretty brave to check"

            Maybe the original was an each way bet.

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Gimp

            "Althouth it would take somebody pretty brave to check"

            Although she does seem to share the German fondness for well made leather.

            *Icon because of ongoing disregard for personal privacy. Amongst other things.

  5. Unep Eurobats
    Holmes

    Free movement of people

    Sometimes you want someone from your tech supplier on site ASAP. If you're in Paris, you may be worried that a company in post-Brexit London will have cost and bureaucracy issues with this that won't affect their counterparts in Berlin.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Free movement of people

      Isn't that exactly the thing that Brexit is meant to stop?

      Yadda yadda take back control yadda yadda make Britain Great again yadda yadda

  6. Hollerithevo Silver badge

    I like the whole Brussels-to-Berlin corridor

    My company is talking in a very desultory way of Europe and we are looking at Amsterdam or across northern Germany. I suspect we'll do nothing until the gates start closing and we will be among the last-minute scramble to get aboard. By then everything will be more expensive. I personally was hoping Stockholm or Oslo, but the cost of living there was deemed too high, certainly to cover the help needed to relocate staff. A shame: I was getting ready to buy a small house on a lake...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I like the whole Brussels-to-Berlin corridor

      All of this depends on if some accommodation over residency or citizenship is sorted out. Nobody can plan anything, everyone could be flying back after B-Day and applying for residency from an embassy in London and waiting for a reply, something which an entire company can't afford to do.

      Not the cleverest of ideas to leave the EEA, but then again the Tory party was never a meritocracy.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: I like the whole Brussels-to-Berlin corridor

        Tory party was never a meritocracy.

        I agree with you but don't forget that the term was originally coined as one of derision, which seemed to be vindicated by last year's "rebellion".

  7. Buzzword

    People start and finish work a little later than in London

    When I moved to London, the first thing I noticed was that people seem to start & finish about an hour later than elsewhere in the country. I put this down to commuting time.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Commuting time

      That aspect is a major factor in how I, at least, would see any alternative location to move to. No point in moving to some city where your employees wast 2 hours or more of their life every day commuting. What is that equivalent to, around 10% of your waking life?

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Commuting time

        Waste? On my hour long commute I read, I look at (partly work-related) stuff on the internets, or I sleep. None of that's wasted time.

  8. codejunky Silver badge

    Meh

    For those who need or want to restrict themselves to the EU moving may make sense. But the lack of exodus is not a shock. I dont know if the EU truly believed it would happen but over here it was basically a FUD effort. Just as the financial market exodus fizzled out with a few offices in Europe changing their status. Even Oxford uni got into the act opening a campus within the EU.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      " But the lack of exodus is not a shock."

      Of course it isn't. Moving a business across a city is one thing. Moving it from city to city within a country isn't always straightforward. Moving to a different country with a different language, sorting out schooling for key employees' children, working out how many employees will move and how many will dig their heels in - it's all going to take time. What you see now isn't necessarily going to be what you see in another year or eighteen months.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        @ Doctor Syntax

        "What you see now isn't necessarily going to be what you see in another year or eighteen months."

        Yup. It will come tomorrow. I know I said that yesterday but I know it is coming tomorrow. And if tomorrow becomes today and it hasnt happened then I will say the same then too. Because its coming... tomorrow.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Meh

          "And if tomorrow becomes today and it hasnt happened then I will say the same then too. Because its coming... tomorrow."

          I guess you've never been involved in a company move.

          At former employer - I'm not quite sure how long the management decided to move out of central London to just outside. Then they announced the move and that they'd found a site. A few weeks later the property deal fell through. After a few more months looking round they found premises in the north. The office started to "move" which meant offering relocation or redundancy. They also started recruiting new staff in temporary offices. A few of the London staff who relocated might have moved at this point. After a good few months the new premises were ready and the already recruited new staff moved in and the relocations started over the spring and summer.

          I was one of the later tranche to move; I had a daughter at GCSE stage. I'd noted that particular summer as one that would be suitable for a move years ago - it was only the second suitable moving window in several years due to schooling. I think the office move was completed about a year after the first new recruiting, about 18 months after the initial site fell through and there were still other parts of the business to move. It must have taken well over 2 years for the relocation to complete, probably more like 3 from the initial planning. And that was within the same country.

          Bootnote. About a fortnight after I moved I got called by a head-hunter about a job about 10 miles from where I used to live.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Meh

            @ Doctor Syntax

            I am talking about the oh so many doom and gloom predictions which have been more of a damp squib than a problem. But since this article is about startups which should be fairly quick (comparatively) to move this sounds a lot like the bank bluster that ran out of wind. And based on your time scales above how many months are these businesses needing when the EU seem almost desperate to accommodate their move?

            1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              Re: Meh

              @codejunky, we are still in the EU. Nothing has happened yet except for some post Article 50 chats that did not go well. I keep feeling we've heard the crunch of the iceberg against the hull but, so far, everything is fine, isn't it, because the decks haven't started to tilt.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Meh

          Yup. It will come tomorrow. I know I said that yesterday but I know it is coming tomorrow. And if tomorrow becomes today and it hasnt happened then I will say the same then too. Because its coming... tomorrow.

          It's an increasingly open secret that the companies in the financial services are already opening small offices. They can relocate pretty quickly, bug as long as there is no immediate need to move, then why should they?

          Indeed the recent rise in Sterling since the announcement of the election was justified by May using the bigger majority to renege (surely not!) on repeated pledges about the UK leaving the EU. But, as long as Brexit means Brexit, how can she be accused of anything?

          We will see movement associated with any of the many EU research initiatives and of course the regulators. But the litmus test may well be industrial and whether the government can deliver on the secret assurances it has given to Toyota, Nissan, etc.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Meh

            @ Charlie Clark

            "t's an increasingly open secret that the companies in the financial services are already opening small offices"

            Not really secret at all. The EU claimed our financial services would move, instead offices already there (if they didnt have one just got one) and it bypasses the problem. Its only quiet from the EU and their supporters as the services have no reason to go anywhere.

            "We will see movement associated with any of the many EU research initiatives and of course the regulators."

            EU money and busybodies returning to the EU. Yup. So.

      2. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        Probably only 10% (guesstimate) of firms will be actually *moving* anyone. Most will just make them redundant here and rehire over there.

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Meh

      I dont know if the EU truly believed it would happen but over here it was basically a FUD effort.

      Grammar pedant alert: you're using the past tense to talk about something that hasn't happened yet...

      (Finally, a use for the Jimmy Edwards icon!)

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      For those who need or want to restrict themselves to the EU moving may make sense.

      What? You mean like Goldman Sachs, Google, Toyota?

      The single market is important because it sets standards not because its exclusive: look at how Germany's trade with India and China has continued to grow.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        @ Charlie Clark

        "What? You mean like Goldman Sachs, Google, Toyota?"

        Did you mean to include google in there or is that a joke?

        "The single market is important because it sets standards"

        Yes. How did we live without the EU dictating standards? Oh yeah it was by creating them and not needing the force of law to dictate them.

        "look at how Germany's trade with India and China has continued to grow."

        So not an EU success then? Is Germany now the only example of success? I guess it helps when the Euro forces their currency to be artificially low while at the same time artificially too high for Greece. The success of a country through the destruction of others is not really a success story.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Meh

          Yes. How did we live without the EU dictating standards?

          You don't think that the UK helped set some of those standards? Standards setting wasn't uni directional but it will be now because the UK will be forced to follow the EU unless the UK wants strange more-expensive cars, TV, telecoms, etc...

          So not an EU success then? Is Germany now the only example of success? I guess it helps when the Euro forces their currency to be artificially low while at the same time artificially too high for Greece. The success of a country through the destruction of others is not really a success story.

          However the EU is good for the UK as it is 42% of the UK's exports. Leaving it will be the wilful self-destruction of the UK.

          And based on your time scales above how many months are these businesses needing when the EU seem almost desperate to accommodate their move?

          It's several different countries touting for business, not the EU. Ye gods.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Meh

            @ Dan 55

            "You don't think that the UK helped set some of those standards?"

            The line directly under the one you quote- "Oh yeah it was by creating them and not needing the force of law to dictate them."

            "uni directional but it will be now because the UK will be forced to follow the EU"

            No no no and no. Why would the UK be chained by the EU? Companies selling to the EU yes but as a country applying to global trade and actually participating in the world... no.

            "However the EU is good for the UK as it is 42% of the UK's exports. Leaving it will be the wilful self-destruction of the UK."

            Why? Are you suggesting we stop selling to the EU and cut them off in some sort of nationalist nuttiness? Sorry but I cannot agree with your nationalist view, why would we cut people off when we can trade with anyone who is interested? Or are you saying the EU is so petty and childish that they would cut us off? If so then why do we want to be chained to them?

            "It's several different countries touting for business, not the EU. Ye gods."

            Not the EU? Thanks for clearing that up. So the Euro has nothing to do with the EU (Euro clearing threats + various banking threats). Oddly these threats do seem to be insular in nature by threatening to retreat from the world into the cartel borders. Almost nationalistic if the EU was to be one nation.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Meh

              No no no and no. Why would the UK be chained by the EU? Companies selling to the EU yes but as a country applying to global trade and actually participating in the world... no.

              China can set their own standards because they're a bloc of a billion people. The EU because it's a bloc of 500 million people. The US because it's a block of 320 million people. 65 million people don't get to dictate standards. The UK was a part of that standards setting process across the whole of the EU and helped set standards that were convenient for it. Now it does not have a say in that.

              Why? Are you suggesting we stop selling to the EU and cut them off in some sort of nationalist nuttiness? Sorry but I cannot agree with your nationalist view, why would we cut people off when we can trade with anyone who is interested? Or are you saying the EU is so petty and childish that they would cut us off? If so then why do we want to be chained to them?

              My nationalist view? How do you think the UK will make products from materials and parts which travel three times across the Channel if it's out of the single market and customs union? How do you suppose that it will supply materials and parts to other EU countries? Answer: It won't. There will be customs tariffs and trade will be slower due to customs checks... useless when it comes to JIT economies. Distance is still important so why is it in the UK's interest to make things more difficult to trade with our neighbours if we can't trade just as easily with distant countries?

              Not the EU? Thanks for clearing that up. So the Euro has nothing to do with the EU (Euro clearing threats + various banking threats). Oddly these threats do seem to be insular in nature by threatening to retreat from the world into the cartel borders. Almost nationalistic if the EU was to be one nation.

              Are we talking about businesses or the euro? This article is about businesses relocating, not the euro. The UK had the good sense to opt out of the euro yet as part of the EU it could sell euro-based financial services. If it leaves then it can't sell euro-based financial services and if it goes back in then a euro opt-out won't be an option.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: Meh

                China can set their own standards because they're a bloc of a billion people.

                It can and does sometimes but, like many countries, it's often happy to use standards that somebody else has already spent time and effort coming up with.

              2. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Meh

                @ Dan 55

                "China can set their own standards because they're a bloc of a billion people."

                Eh what? Everyone sets their own standards. The standards being what you are willing to accept into the country. The EU can accept what it wants, China what it wants, UK what we want.

                "The UK was a part of that standards setting process across the whole of the EU and helped set standards that were convenient for it. Now it does not have a say in that."

                So what we dont set standards for the EU. Thats up to them. We dont dictate standards to Aus or Iceland or anywhere else, so what. We followed fine enough standards before the EU started moving them into laws.

                "My nationalist view?"

                Yes. You seemed to suggest we would stop trading with the EU or something just because we left it. Why? Being out frees us up for more trade.

                "How do you think the UK will make products from materials and parts which travel three times across the Channel if it's out of the single market and customs union"

                Go to google. Now search for images of the earth. Then search for images of the EU (not Europe, dont make that mistake). Overlay them and BANG! You are aware the UK has been trading for a very long time and not trapped in a little cartel.

                "Distance is still important so why is it in the UK's interest to make things more difficult to trade with our neighbours if we can't trade just as easily with distant countries?"

                And then you look at our trade with the US and with the EU. Yet the US seems further away on that map you googled.

                "Are we talking about businesses or the euro?"

                So financial businesses are no longer business. Whodathunkit. And as I wrote a few comments above, yes it can still deal with the Euro without relocating the financial sector. The financial sector fixed that problem all on its lonesome disappointing EU politicians with minimal effort. Although the EU did twitch when they realised how much of their money relies on London and cutting it off would not be smart

                1. Dan 55 Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: Meh

                  See icon.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Meh

                    @ Dan 55

                    Your welcome but dont feel bad. Your not the only one with these funny ideas.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Meh

                      Your not the only one with these funny ideas.

                      @codejunky, calm down. You're more than welcome to stay in the new shiny Wonderland that the UK will be post Brexit. Just don't try to convince people who are NOT on drugs that it's so wonderful. Most of us have been alive long enough to look for hard facts and evidence, and experience shows that election promises should never be confused with those.

                      The Brexit people have done a number on the UK. I have no idea why, but even IF there are any befits, you can be certain that it will first take quite a few meagre years before the mess is sorted out. Be prepared to take up farming for a bit - as in the US, them pesky foreigners did actually do some rather important jobs before you booted them out for political profit..

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Meh

              Why? Are you suggesting we stop selling to the EU and cut them off in some sort of nationalist nuttiness?

              Yes! I take it you've never personally been involved in the EU sales side of Business?

              Leaving the EU will automatically rule the UK out of a large swath of EU business because NONE of the EU Ts&Cs about "level playing field" will apply! For example with ITT's for government contracts, there will be little point in a UK company applying as they will be highly unlikely to be shortlisted.

              T.May might succeed in "getting access to the Single Market" but you can guarantee 'access' will be very different in practice to 'membership', which we shouldn't forget will be associate membership, not full membership with a seat at the table and voting rights...

              So yes, expect our EU export trade in GBP post-Brexit to fall, the only question is by how much?

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Meh

                @ Roland6

                "Leaving the EU will automatically rule the UK out of a large swath of EU business because NONE of the EU Ts&Cs about "level playing field" will apply!"

                You might need to reread the exact line you quoted that this is in response to. I asked why we should cut off the EU in some nationalistic nuttiness and you are talking about them cutting us off because we are not within their borders.

                "So yes, expect our EU export trade in GBP post-Brexit to fall, the only question is by how much?"

                That is a very different thing and I do expect that too. If the EU are interested in giving us access to the single market then that would be nice. But if they insist that means we must (as above) cut our selves off in some EU nationalistic nuttiness then we should say no.

                "The concern now is that post-Brexit we can expect the EU to move more along lines dictated by French and German interests..."

                I cant say I have anything against the Germans nor the French. Also is this why people keep shouting that the UK have never been a cooperative member. Is our entire existence in the EU to be the US poodle? I remember that was one of the claims remainers would make until Obama opened his mouth.

                Why not let them do the ever closer union they want or whatever? We just dont want to be part of it. I dont see a problem with that.

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Meh

                  @codejunky

                  Re: "nationalistic nuttiness"

                  The example I gave is totally in line with "nationalistic nuttiness", only I was applying it in same way to Brexit that people up and down the country apply to speeding: Its against the law, yet we still do it and when we get caught we then complain how unfair it is...

                  So it is the UK, in a fit of "nationalistic nuttiness" who is deciding not to remain within the borders of the EU/Single Market and so putting itself outside of the club and benefits of membership. The remaining members will merely apply the rules of membership, they don't need to actively do anything, the rules are sufficient to close doors...

                  In this respect, once again you are showing your ignorance of the real-world EU market. One of the big impacts of having the UK in the EEC/EU has been to open up the highly protectionist European markets to UK businesses! (Remember Margaret Thatcher was one of the key founders of the Single Market). The UK has to some extent suffered (excessive immigration, UK businesses losing out to non-UK EU state subsidised businesses) because it has been the market leader (and partially because Westminster/Whitehall has been stupid in the way they have conducted procurements and so in some cases discriminating against UK businesses!). Without the UK being on the inside, pushing for change, the impedus for change in the EU will reduce.

                  The trouble with Brexit, is that many government procurements are 18+ month projects. So does a UK IT business commit significant resources (£1~3M) to bidding for a French government contract, where the company stands a good chance of reaching the shortlist (and thus incur costs towards the top end of the budgetary estimate). However, with Brexit we can expect the final decision to be delayed to when the UK is likely to be outside the EU and thus meaning the UK company can be ruled out and being outside of the EU, the company will have no recourse to EU competition law...

                  Is our entire existence in the EU to be the US poodle?

                  Your take on global politics and ignorance of recent European history associated with your support for Brexit is troubling. Remember the US only got directly involved in WWII, due to pressure brought to bear on it by Churchill, until then the US was happily selling stuff to Hilter and the UK! The post-war directive from the US was more along the lines: Europe get your act together, the US doesn't want to be involved in another quarrel between European neighbours; to the UK, continental Europe are your neighbours, get involved. [Aside: In this respect, I get Trump's comments regarding European security, namely the expectation that the European nations have had 70+ years of peace to sort themselves out, when it took Germany less than 20 years to rebuild its military capability... ]

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Meh

                    @ Roland6

                    "So it is the UK, in a fit of "nationalistic nuttiness" who is deciding not to remain within the borders of the EU/Single Market and so putting itself outside of the club and benefits of membership."

                    So the UK is nationalistic by not staying within the borders of the EU but by looking globally instead. And to be outward looking we would have to retreat from the world and hide within the EU borders. Is white black and black white too?

                    "One of the big impacts of having the UK in the EEC/EU has been to open up the highly protectionist European markets to UK businesses!"

                    Ok something we can agree on, the EU is protectionist. And by being out of that we can stop paying their inflated prices to protect their industries through high tariffs against countries outside the cartel.

                    "Without the UK being on the inside, pushing for change, the impedus for change in the EU will reduce."

                    Except the EU doesnt want to change. Remember the amusement of Camerons amazing deal he would get or campaign to leave. Then he proposed a damp squib which the EU refused to agree to (it would be voted on after the referendum and need unanimous support). Then he came back claiming victory and campaigned to remain. The UK is known as the trouble maker because we vocally dont want ever closer union. But it is the whole point of the project.

                    "The trouble with Brexit, is that many government procurements are 18+ month projects."

                    So your against brexit because governments and businesses relying on the EU will have a harder time? Is this a last ditch prayer of an argument?

                    "Your take on global politics and ignorance of recent European history associated with your support for Brexit is troubling. Remember the US only got directly involved in WWII, due to pressure brought to bear on it by Churchill, until then the US was happily selling stuff to Hilter and the UK!"

                    And here we have it. I thought leave was supposed to be backward looking and racist etc. Why are you comparing Europe to the nazi occupation or arguing against the US as that argument seems to do. Or are you crediting the EU with peace in Europe which is not only a laugh and a joke but demonstrably wrong. The EU has only recently existed in that history and during that time it has brought up division (Greeks bringing up the nazis and comparing Merkel to hitler), cause a surge in extreme parties as the only ones offering an anti-EU stance or option and sparked war in Ukraine. Obviously not a full list of serious problems leading to unrest in Europe in and out of the EU.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Meh

          Did you mean to include google in there or is that a joke?

          Nope, Google has a significant presence in the UK and elsewhere in the EU (and Switzerland).

          Not much is happening yet, because the future terms of trade are unknown. And you might expect your government to try and keep you in the dark for as long as possible.

          I guess it helps when the Euro forces their currency to be artificially low while at the same time artificially too high for Greece.

          Nonsense: among other things Germany practised wage restraint for years, while countries like Greece squandered a period of low interest rates to fund a credit boom. Other than that pretty much every country has been holding their currency down since 2008, though this has generally been a welcome side-effect of financial repression rather than explicit fiddling with the currency. Indeed for the last few years most Germans would like to see higher interest rates and hence a stronger Euro.

          Is Germany now the only example of success?

          When did I say that? You're the one who doesn't seem to think that businesses can succeed both within the single market and out of it. Talk to any German industrialists and they'll tell you how important the integrated supply chains within the EU are to their success outside of it.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Meh

            @ Charlie Clark

            "Nope, Google has a significant presence in the UK and elsewhere in the EU (and Switzerland)."

            So UK and Switzerland and getting constant grief from the EU and countries within (I remember reading of news outlets suffering when Google was being abused by politicians).

            "And you might expect your government to try and keep you in the dark for as long as possible."

            Makes for good negotiating. Glad they didnt cave to the pressure of idiots wanting them to broadcast their negotiations.

            "Nonsense: among other things Germany practised wage restraint for years, while countries like Greece squandered a period of low interest rates to fund a credit boom"

            And still doesnt change the fact. If Germany left the EU which way would their new currency go? Here is a hint UP! And of course if Greece left their new currency would fall. Tie them together in the euro and both suffer opposite problems.

            "Indeed for the last few years most Germans would like to see higher interest rates and hence a stronger Euro."

            Marry that to the above and you are in agreement.

            "You're the one who doesn't seem to think that businesses can succeed both within the single market and out of it"

            When did I say that? Of course some businesses can succeed. It does limit our options though.

            "When did I say that?" followed by "Talk to any German industrialists and they'll tell you how important the integrated supply chains within the EU are to their success outside of it"

            Is Germany the only one in this single market or are they the only success story?

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Meh

              Is Germany the only one in this single market or are they the only success story?

              Well, we do need to go back to the political reasons why the US and the EEC wanted the UK to join; one of which was to provide a counter to the German economic dominance of Europe. The concern now is that post-Brexit we can expect the EU to move more along lines dictated by French and German interests...

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Meh

              >Makes for good negotiating. Glad they didnt cave to the pressure of idiots wanting them to broadcast their negotiations.

              The EU have already announced that they will publish the details of the negotiations on an ongoing basis. They will be publicly available, just not from the UK government (at this point).

            3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Meh

              "And you might expect your government to try and keep you in the dark for as long as possible."

              Makes for good negotiating. Glad they didnt cave to the pressure of idiots wanting them to broadcast their negotiations.

              Have you been reading the Dummies Guide to Game Theory again? How does keeping the electorate in the dark help the government, except in areas which the electorate might not like: cf. the ideas about dispute resolution in TTIP.

              As for negotiating with the rest of the EU. What do you think that the UK can hide from the countries with which it currently trades the most?

              "You're the one who doesn't seem to think that businesses can succeed both within the single market and out of it"

              When did I say that? Of course some businesses can succeed. It does limit our options though.

              You keep on saying that being outside the EU will give the UK more freedom in trade. This conveniently ignores the fact that the UK can already trade with non-EU countries and that it benefits from any trade agreements the EU signs. Outside the EU those agreements will have to be negotiated from scratch. Trade agreements generally take years to negotiate.

              Is Germany the only one in this single market or are they the only success story?

              No, it's merely an example and the one I'm most familiar with.

              And still doesnt change the fact. If Germany left the EU which way would their new currency go? Here is a hint UP! And of course if Greece left their new currency would fall. Tie them together in the euro and both suffer opposite problems.

              Germany isn't planning to leave the Euro or the EU any time soon, so there is no "fact" to be changed. If it did it would continue to do what is necessary to remain competitive: increase productivity through rationalisation and wage restraint. As for Greece, currency devaluations do not solve systemic problems and can make these worse.

              Currency unions are always compromises: in the US the economies of Mississippi and California are extremely divergent; within the Euro area Ireland and the Baltic states have practised "internal" devaluation to remain competitive as, to a lesser degree have Portugal and Spain. Indeed Latvia and Lithuania worked hard to join the Euro even during the crisis because their governments understood the advantages of the currency union. Greece is a basket case because successive governments have failed to undertake the necessary reforms to benefit from the single market.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Meh

                @ Charlie Clark

                "Have you been reading the Dummies Guide to Game Theory again?"

                Never read it. Is it any good?

                "How does keeping the electorate in the dark help the government"

                I think we can end that discussion there. In a negotiation you do not state what you are after at the start. Not giving a running commentary while negotiating allows you to keep your position private and not have to suffer idiots.

                "You keep on saying that being outside the EU will give the UK more freedom in trade."

                This might explain why you dont understand my comments. Yes I keep saying that, that line I agree with and do say. That has no relation to what you claim I say- "You're the one who doesn't seem to think that businesses can succeed both within the single market and out of it". Those are 2 entirely separate statements.

                "Outside the EU those agreements will have to be negotiated from scratch. Trade agreements generally take years to negotiate."

                Yes. But is putting in the effort a good reason not to? When we can have trade agreements the EU doesnt have? And without those trade agreements just by leaving the EU we will be able to reduce the excessive tariffs that lock out parts of the world.

                "Germany isn't planning to leave the Euro or the EU any time soon, so there is no "fact" to be changed."

                The fact is if they left the euro their currency would grow much stronger, it is being held down. This problem has been demonstrated by devaluing the euro to help Greece but then Germany pulls it up with more trade. Both due to the euro's value.

                "Currency unions are always compromises: in the US the economies of Mississippi and California are extremely divergent; within the Euro area Ireland and the Baltic states have practised "internal" devaluation to remain competitive as, to a lesser degree have Portugal and Spain."

                The problem with comparing the US with the EU is fiscal transfer. If the stronger economies are not willing to support the weaker by transferring the wealth then they cannot survive in a currency union. That internal devaluation is literally going home with less money and the abysmal unemployment/youth unemployment situation has been the result. The EU is behind the curve on recovering from the last recession, to the point of being a global threat as people complained about China's rocky situation.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Meh

                  >I think we can end that discussion there. In a negotiation you do not state what you are after at the start. Not giving a running commentary while negotiating allows you to keep your position private and not have to suffer idiots.

                  But the running commentary is going to be public. The EU are going to publish it. Our government are trying to keep the electorate in the dark while it is still daytime outside. You just need to open the curtains and take a look. It might be from the other side, but the information will be readily available for all to see. I suspect it won't necessarily look good on our government though (or they fear it won't).

                  1. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Re: Meh

                    >But the running commentary is going to be public. The EU are going to publish it.

                    For some reason I can't help thinking of Spycatcher, particularly given T.May's previous performances...

                  2. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Meh

                    @AC

                    "But the running commentary is going to be public. The EU are going to publish it. Our government are trying to keep the electorate in the dark"

                    You seem to be saying 2 different things. Either it will be public and so our gov isnt keeping people in the dark, or the information you want is going to be kept in the dark and the EU wont be publishing it either.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Meh

                      >You seem to be saying 2 different things. Either it will be public and so our gov isnt keeping people in the dark, or the information you want is going to be kept in the dark and the EU wont be publishing it either.

                      Not saying two different things at all. The reporting in the UK, either through our government or the media, will mostly be filtered to show the EU in an unflattering light or show our negotiators as having the upper hand going with the jingoistic mood that they've been following since June. AFAIK the EU will just be putting the transcripts online, with little or no filtering.

                2. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Meh

                  "How does keeping the electorate in the dark help the government"

                  I think we can end that discussion there. In a negotiation you do not state what you are after at the start. Not giving a running commentary while negotiating allows you to keep your position private and not have to suffer idiots.

                  A football match is a form of negotiation; each team will have a match strategy with the intention of winning. Following the logic of negotiation cited above, it would imply that football matches would be better conducted behind closed doors without a crowd or running commentary, with the result only being announced by an official after the final whistle; no questions as details of the match (ie. negotiation) are confidential...

                  We live in a democracy - even though T.May (and some in the EU) rather we didn't, there is no reason whatsoever why the negotiations can't be live streamed; in fact given the level of belief in the Brexit emperor's new clothes it may actually be beneficial!

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Meh

                    @ Roland6

                    "A football match is a form of negotiation;"

                    Yeah I think we aught to give up there. You dont seem to be following the idea of negotiation. Brexit is not football. But even then the fans dont sit with the manager and insist on certain strategies/vote on it. They watch from the sidelines and get the result.

                    "We live in a democracy"

                    And we have a referendum with a leave vote. Thank you goodnight! *fireworks*

                    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
                      Headmaster

                      Re: Meh

                      Yeah I think we aught to give up there.

                      Well, you ought to until you learn to spell and set commas correctly.

                      And we have a referendum with a leave vote.

                      The referendum was only ever advisory because … drumroll … parliament is sovereign. And the reason the UK doesn't govern by referendum is because referendums are shit for detailed policy, such as trade negotiations. The margin to leave was small, which is one of the reasons why policy referendums usually come with quorums and 2/3 or 3/4 majority requirements to favour the status quo. So, we still only know that "Brexit means Brexit". Two packets, please.

                      Thank you goodnight!

                      We can but hope so.

    4. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      "restrict themselves to the EU" -- somewhat like the Continent being cut off due to fog in the Channel? It is the EU that has plenty of trade and culture within its own borders, not to mention trade agreements with all parts of the globe.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        @ Hollerithevo

        "somewhat like the Continent being cut off due to fog in the Channel?"

        Not really, just trapped with the regulations of the EU. Of course anything sold to the EU must meet such regulations but others manage that well enough, while the rest (majority) of business doesnt have to meet EU standards. We can make what we want to buy to the specifications we want.

        "It is the EU that has plenty of trade and culture within its own borders"

        Well said. This is a point I seriously agree with, it is a very good cartel to the protectionism of those within the cartel but not so much for those outside. Unless there is a trade deal that favours that particular trade.

        "not to mention trade agreements with all parts of the globe"

        That I must disagree with. They seem to be lacking trade agreements with various emerging markets which we should absolutely want to be taking advantage of such as China. And since China have expressed interest in a trade agreement we amusingly may get one before the EU! However the cartel does block out the poor by forcing high tariffs against countries that can compete, all in the interest of protecting jobs.

        "Nothing has happened yet except for some post Article 50 chats that did not go well"

        I do love this as a reasoning. Anything considered bad goes under brexit while anything considered good gets the 'we aint left yet' pass. As for chats that didnt go well, I think things are going reasonably well and as long as the gov recognises that no deal is still a very good deal for the UK we can be happy that no deal is the worst outcome the EU threatens us with. The worst deal we can get is to remain in the EU.

        "I keep feeling we've heard the crunch of the iceberg against the hull but, so far, everything is fine, isn't it, because the decks haven't started to tilt."

        I must admit I feel it too. The Euro currency should have been dissolved but instead a country was sacrificed. The utopia dream of equality destroyed when Germany unilaterally invited the middle east to move in. The idea of competent trade negotiation was tarnished when the EU gave up its sole reason to exist over the Canada trade deal and got held hostage by a tiny section of the population. Their kind faces twisted when they try to subvert elections. And of course the illusion of a friendly club washed away by demanding punishment of those who dare consider the option of leaving.

        My main concern though is for over here in the UK where the idea of democracy, freedom and choice has been bought or coerced away by anti-democratic people who feel the result of the referendum should be ignored because x,y,z of poor excuses.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Meh

          Not really, just trapped with the regulations of the EU…

          Yes, because BSE was caused by the UK's own laxer regulations over the dubious practice of feeding sheep carcasses to cows…

          The Euro currency should have been dissolved but instead a country was sacrificed. The utopia dream of equality destroyed when Germany unilaterally invited the middle east to move in.

          This is, as usual, superficial nonsense.

  9. druck
    Go

    Worried - No

    Do we really need to be worrying retaining the sort of tech firms that inhabit around Silicon Roundabout? Hipsters sucking up funding catapults to write apps with no viable business model, except hoping they might get bought out by Google or Facebook.

    The real UK tech industry is based all around the UK, and intends to stay here.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Worried - No

      Some of it is. For the moment.

  10. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Go

    Anecdotal data point

    My employers are in financial services. Of my previous two, one ahs already announced they're probably off to Dublin, assuming passporting goes, and the other (a US megabank) has made very clear that thousands of jobs will be "moving" to the EU.

    (Of course for firms with more than, say, 500 employees, "moving" mostly means "making redundant here and hiring new people there"; as the TFA says, once people have mortgages and kids over the age of 2, upping sticks for another country becomes a really big deal, even if you're both lucky/clever enough to speak the language.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anecdotal data point

      The biggest problem is when the employee's spouse has a country-specific job/career/profession like law, civil service, teaching,... Even when the skills and knowledge are portable to another country, sometimes the official qualifications aren't.

      And Germany always used to be a bit of a stickler for official qualifications, as I recall. Even some East Germans were forced to retake their university courses after the reunification in order to be allowed to work in their own country. So I'm not sure what they'd make of a really foreign qualification, like a British one, for example.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anecdotal data point

        well anecdotally, a PhD and CEng status seems to work for me.

      2. Bogle

        Re: Anecdotal data point

        > The biggest problem is when the employee's spouse has a country-specific job/career/profession like law, civil service, teaching

        Medicine, just to add to the list. That's my Significant Other's profession and not only would she need fluency in the new language she'd need (some) re-qualification.

        It's easy to forget when you're in something like software where you (a) don't need to talk much and (b) don't need any professional qualifications!

  11. Tom Paine Silver badge

    HOW MUCH?!???

    A one-bedroom flat in Berlin's city centre costs around £600 a month,

    And presumably in Euros that looks even cheaper. Wow, that's incredible. What I could do with saving £650/month (I'm paying £1250...)

    *wistful sigh

    rents have been rising swiftly. They jumped 7 per cent in 2016

    Mine's up ~30% in four years... admittedly landlords decided to install a (crap, cheap) new kitchen and bathroom, replacing elderly but solid & robust 30 year old ones, to try to justify that when they found they were getting less than the local market rate.)

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: HOW MUCH?!???

      Flats in Germany are generally measured by size and the price m2 is important. A "one-bedroomed flat" could be anything from 40 to 70 m2.

      Berlin is huge and economic development is spread out around the city. That said, it has recently seen a property speculation boom (driven as much by AirBnB tourism as anything else) and prices are now considered to have more or less peaked (rent controls prevent the most egregious price hikes) with the financial repression induced by low interest rates starting to end. Outside of the hippest areas, rents should be a lot lower and public transport in Berlin is very good.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: HOW MUCH?!???

        "Flats in Germany are generally measured by size and the price m2 is important. A "one-bedroomed flat" could be anything from 40 to 70 m2."

        True of all sensible countries, even the US (only they use square feet). The UK obsession with measuring property size by number of bedrooms has lead to some of the most cramped property in the world, with many "bedrooms" not big enough for a wardrobe and a single bed --- and a bizarre market in 80%-size furniture for show homes.

  12. peterm3

    Munich seems to have local offices of Google, Amazon, Apple. Also companies like Siemens, Airbus, BMW and Munich Re. Public transport is great, except the trams which are so quite they are risky for pedestriany, cyclist and motorists alike.

    Healthcare system is another world compared to the NHS - comparable with private cover in the UK. No waiting times!

  13. sebt
    Stop

    It's not just Brexit

    "For employees themselves, a UK working visa costs more than £400 (€477), but for Germany it's £50 (€60)."

    A lot of the completely unnecessary hassle in the UK predates the Brexit referendum - although Brexit will undoubtedly make it even worse.

    There's a kind of punitive aspect to any kind of bureaucracy in the UK, and this applies of course especially to immigration issues. Because it's OK to make life hard for dose darned furriners - but actually that's not the whole story: Government, or rather privatised/semi-privatised Government agencies, do their level best to make life hard for anyone, British or foreign, who tries to deal with them.

    The idea of an infrastructure which works smoothly and efficiently, allowing you to concentrate your energies on more interesting and productive things, has become just a memory in the UK. Maybe this is supposed to be some kind of "market incentive" to turn you into a 14-hours-a-day City trader and buy yourself into a minimally decent world.

    I'm going to be doing postgraduate study in Europe, and the impression I've got is that no-one over there is in the slightest interested in making life hard for me. Sure, I may end up on a higher fee level if all goes pear-shaped in the negotiations (or, God forbid, if Boris is allowed within the country's borders to personally to deliver a series of hilarious schoolboy insults), but the bureaucracy will just be a matter of fill in these forms, prove you speak the language, pay €50, wait a while and there you go.

  14. morenewsfromnowhere

    Berlin is not a viable city for startups.

    The problem is accomodation. You can't get a place to live. This means you can't get staff.

    The reason you can't get a place to live is rent controls.

    Berlin has rent controls. Landlords can choose the rent when they let, but once let, they can only increase it at a very low rate - much lower than inflation.

    As a result, illegal sub-letting is the norm. The tenant wants to keep their contract, so the rent price cannot be reset, so they sublet (often without telling the owner), sometimes with a markup (which is theft).

    As a consequence of all this, the supply of property is strongly discouraged and there is vast unmet demand for accomodation. When-ever a place comes on the market, at least a dozen people turn up on the day after.

    If you are not there in person, *you will not get that place*.

    As a result, the labour market available to companies in Berlin is restricted to people in Berlin.

    This is made worse by the "SHUFA", which is like a credit history. If you're outside of Germany, you won't have one, which makes you even less appealing to landlords.

    Also landlords, where the law is so against them, want LOTS of security. Three months deposit is not uncommon.

    Another consequence of that is that three months notice is usual in employment contracts - which makes it harder for you when you come to get out. You can't find somewhere and then resign, because most places won't take you if they have to wait three months.

    Finally, note that the actual consequence of rent controls is to depress wages. Wages in Berlin are low, because rents are low. This reduces costs to companies in the rent control area, and so makes the more competitive; but at the same time, reduces the average quality of staff they can obtain, which reduces their competitiveness. In other words, it makes no sense. I think it's done because people imagine it gives them more money and politicians play along with it.

    If you look at AirBnB, rent prices are two to three times higher - these are the real rents. This also means you cannot use AirBnB, if you're trying to take a job in Berlin, because you cannot afford it on your salary.

    The local Government practically banned AirBnB anyway, last year. This always happens in places with rent controls, because more and more people let to AirBnB because it's worth so much more than the prices forced by the Government. Results is that it has to be banned, and then we all go back to the accomodation market being totally borked.

    So, in short, don't come here. You can't get a place to live. Berlin cannot take off as a center of anything unless it fixes its accomodation market.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You may well know better than I do, but we had not problem relocating four people from London - ad they and very happy (as are we)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't worry about brexit anymore because the great plan has begun,

    Call an election.

    Set out to fail.

    I'm sure many will disagree but here's the logic behind it. Don't promise not to raise taxes or protect pensioners. Don't appear in debates. Labour can't win because the press hate them.

    Where will this leave us? I reckon a split government with a coalition allowing a second vote on the terms of brexit to include an option to stay in.

    Not being funny but she said no general election and here we are. She also said brexit means brexit. Lets see if that's true.

    If I could relocate anywhere it would be new zealand, nice country, probably not got any nukes pointed at it and I do like a bit of lamb.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Headmaster

      "She also said brexit means brexit. Lets see if that's true."

      That's what they call in logic a tautology, like X = X there is no way it can ever not be true.

      What it will actually mean will be decided over the next 2 years* **

      It is semantically correct but syntactically meaningless. Like if X==X {}

      *At least partly, depending on how much is actually negotiated before the "watchdog timer" times out.

      **Other than a clusterf**k of epic proportions as about 42 years of EU regulations and the laws that implement them have to be gone through and at least some of them dealt with.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just Berlin....

    Since last 6 months I am getting lot of calls from companies (mostly Banks and FinTech) for jobs in Paris.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just Berlin....

      Good luck with French bureaucracy, they invented the word.

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Not just Berlin....

      @AC 2 -- I could handle a fair bit of bureaucracy to be able to live in Paris.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Not just Berlin....

        I could handle a fair bit of bureaucracy to be able to live in Paris.

        Paris is great if you can afford to live somewhere with good transport for work. Like London, it's a wonderful place to visit but living there can be very stressful.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "keep calm and move to Berlin"

    I'd have to understand their sense of humour, first.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Und?

    "Berlin is the only place where I've been to a tech conference which has an entirely white male panel," says one tech founder who preferred to remain anonymous

    Did it occur to the tech founder who preferred to remain anonymous that the demographics of Berlin and, say, London may be ever so slightly different?

    That blokes make up most of IT is hardly an exclusively Berliner trait, although I do happen to see more than a few lasses in the scene--maybe more than London, maybe not, I wouldn't know.

    Then I'm willing to bet that more than half of those "white males" come from outside Germany from all four compass points. Immigration does follow certain patterns, related to historical relations between countries, family connections and the like, and Germany did not have the same sort of far-flung colonial past as others.

    So frankly, unless the tech founder who preferred to remain anonymous has been misquoted, I find that comment pretty useless.

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    Should be a great place for NYC businesses.

    First we take Manhattan.....

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