UK business chiefs warn Cameron over EU exit
LONDON- Agence France-PressePrime Minister David Cameron must not risk jeopardizing Britain’s EU membership and damaging the weak economy, business chiefs warned ahead of the premier’s key Europe speech later this week.
Top business chiefs are concerned that Cameron’s plans could damage their valuable links with Britain’s main trading partner, create uncertainty and hurt an economy which is expected to have shrunk once again in the fourth quarter of 2012. “The debate about our future in Europe in 2013 must be based on an informed, hard-headed analysis of where our long-term economic and financial interests lie and business will need to make its voice heard,” said John Cridland, director-general of powerful employers’ grouping the Confederation of British Industry.
Ten top business leaders, including Virgin tycoon Richard Branson and WPP advertising agency boss Martin Sorrell, have already called for “urgent” reform that did not require “wholesale renegotiation” of Britain’s position. “To call for such a move in these circumstances would be to put our membership of the EU at risk and create damaging uncertainty for British business, which are the last things the prime minister would want to do,” they said. “We need a strong reformed EU with Britain at the heart of it,” they added in an open letter in the Financial Times.
Cameron was due to address the nation’s strained relationship with the EU on Jan. 18, having already stated that he wanted to renegotiate the conditions of its membership with the bloc.