Cameron has stunned, May has acted up, and Johnson is at an impasse. The Brexit situation is at a stand-still while parliament is on compulsory leave.
In the face of the political, economic and social impact of a Brexit with or without a deal, we want to take the opportunity to talk with Mark Fenyes, CEO of OMEGA SINTO Foundry Machinery Ltd. and President of the WFO, on the impact on and prospects for foundries and suppliers in the UK.
FP: Mark, please be honest – What thoughts come to mind regarding the Brexit, or as some refer to it, the "British Independence"?
Mark Fenyes: When Prime Minister Cameron announced the referendum, he said that there was one choice, ‘we are either in or out’ However some of our politicians just don’t seem to get the message and instead of enacting the nations will keep on with their self-serving rhetoric and denial of the outcome.
In fact, I’m reminded of Oliver Cromwell’s speech addressed to parliament in 1653;
‘Ye sordid prostitutes, have you not defiled this sacred place and turned the Lords temple into a den of thieves. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed but yourselves have become the greatest grievance’
I think this sums up the situation pretty well, although I apologise to prostitutes by putting them in the same category as some of our politicians.
FP: How do people, but above all the companies - especially the foundries and the suppliers - prepare themselves? Are they prepared for a hard Brexit at all? How is the supply of auxiliary and operating materials?
Fenyes: No one really knows the situation and certainly there has been some over stocking on both sides in case of disruption. However, the greatest threat of disruption seems to yet again come from the French whose customs officials are already talking about industrial action based on the ‘extra work’ they will have to do
FP: Does OMEGA feel the changes ahead and how do they affect your company?
Fenyes: We of course hope for a negotiated settlement and business as normal within Europe, whilst at the same time looking forward to increased opportunities outside of the EU and without the burden and bureaucracy of being part of the EU entails
FP: As we learn from the economic news, almost all Japanese car manufacturers are withdrawing from the United Kingdom. Many Europeans are planning changes as well. What impact is this having on the economy and the industry?
Fenyes: Not all Japanese car makers are withdrawing and the ones that have withdrawn this has also occurred outside of the UK. For example, Honda has also announced the closure of its facility in Turkey. This is more of a reflection of a move away from diesel and the shift to electrification of the industry. The media in the UK is heavily left wing biased and the ‘journalists’ love to equate any bad news onto BEXIT, yet at the same time conveniently forget about new investment such as JLR, Goldman Sachs new HQ etc. etc.
About the economy, it’s never been better despite some ‘economists’ forecasting a disaster the minute we announced our intention to leave, including the chairman of the bank of England. The latest figures out show employment at a record 20 year high along with sustained growth.
FP: If the Brexit from the European Union succeeds at some point, what hopes and opportunities do you see besides all the uncertainties for Great Britain, especially for the foundry industry? What are the new opportunities where a thriving future can develop, and what objective benefits would the UK have?
Fenyes: Over the years our manufacturing industry has been decimated and there has been no appetite by successive governments (on all political sees) to support this. In recent times however the government has finally seen the need for a strong manufacturing industry and there have been tangible signs of investment, especially in training. I am hoping that this combined with the freedom we will gain once leaving the EU will allow manufacturing to have resurgence in the UK and for those manufacturers that require high quality castings that they source more indigenously rather than from outside.
FP: Are the golden days of free trade over or is it just a temporary phase?
Fenyes: I see no reason why free trade should not continue, and suspect that Germany and France being net exporters to the UK would agree with this
FP: Thank you very much Mark Fenyes, may God save your country whatever happens until October 31st. Let´s hope free trade somehow sticks.
Fenyes: Thank you, Thomas.
May I conclude my remarks by saying that I truly believe the UK people that voted to leave are not anti-Europe, they are anti EU and what it has grown into. It’s a big difference and I’m sure there are other countries within the Bloc that also feel the same.
Views expressed in this interview are those personal to Mr. Fenyes and do not necessarily reflect those of Omega Sinto or the WFO.