KPMG: Slovakia among EU countries at greatest risk after Brexit

Slovakia's economy is among those that will be most impacted by Brexit, the latest studies have shown.

EU-UK, illustrative stock photo.EU-UK, illustrative stock photo. (Source: AP/TASR)

Slovakia is among those European Union-member states that stand to lose most in the wake of the United Kingdom's departure from the EU, the KPMG consultancy informed the TASR newswire. Slovakia's exports to the UK make up over 5 percent of the nation's GDP. Only four other EU-member countries – Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Belgium – have a higher exports-to-GDP ratio towards the UK.

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Moreover, Slovakia comes second in terms of the proportion of its total exports that are exported to the UK (3.27 percent), as only the figure for Ireland is higher.

All EU countries are expected to sign bilateral agreements with the UK in the next two years after the Brexit procedure was officially launched earlier on March 29. Details on a range of issues, including bilateral trade and the free movement of people and capital, will need to be thrashed out.

“In negotiations on the new agreements, various regions are likely to be assigned different priorities,” chairman of KPMG's partner board Ľuboš Vančo told TASR. “For eastern-European countries, the top priority will be ensuring the rights of workers in the UK. Western- and northern-European countries will focus more on foreign trade issues.”

KPMG expects a number of industries to be hit hard by Brexit, notably Germany's automotive production, as one in seven cars produced there ends up in the UK. Fourteen percent of exports of French wines were imported into the UK in 2015, as were 10 percent of Belgian chocolate exports, 26 percent of Danish sausage exports and 15 percent of Greek cheese exports.

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The Slovak Central Bank (NBS) currently expects Brexit to cut 0.55 percentage points from Slovakia's economic growth by 2019. Thus, there could be 5,500 fewer jobs in Slovakia in four years time due to Brexit, the SITA newswire wrote. The NBS also estimates a negative impact from the UK leaving the EU mostly on the country's foreign demand. Other issues, like increase of insecurity, or exchange rate changes, are so far insignificant.

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