Royal Society reacts to UK-EU withdrawal agreement

15 November 2018

The Government and EU Commission jointly published a draft agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

In response, Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said:

“The current deal maintains the status quo for science in the transition period, avoiding the potentially chaotic impact of a no deal Brexit. That fact, together with the mention of science and innovation in the declaration on the future relationship, are to be welcomed.  This is a step in the right direction, but it will be a long, hard road to reach a long-term agreement.

“On mobility, the deal would keep the flow of people and ideas moving in the short term.  That matters as people and ideas, wherever they come from, are the lifeblood of science.  However, in the long-term, the UK needs an immigration system that allows researchers to collaborate easily and universities, research institutes and businesses to be able to recruit the people they need to maintain a flourishing environment for science and innovation in the UK.

“We are now just months away from Brexit. It is time for an end to the uncertainty that has been damaging science and every other part of life in the UK.  The threat of a chaotic no-deal Brexit cannot be considered an option. We now need real leadership from those elected to govern. The Royal Society will continue to make the case for the needs of science and of researchers as we, hopefully, resolve the issue of the UK’s relationship with the EU.”