Business and the EU: addendum

January 25, 2016, 12:17 PM GMT+0


  • I find this referendum objectionable and I don't like the way this PM thought it up one wet Tuesday to placate his right win.
  • Of course we should stay at the heart of Europe, but it is too bureaucratic, too arrogant, too slow and wasteful and it should be reformed - I do get fed up with the pro-EU lobby because it never acknowledges the problems.
  • Our grandchildren will be on a planet dominated by the US, India and China, and we will be a more-or-less minor player.
  • Usually I think we should just shut up and run our companies. But in this case I think business should campaign. Business as a whole has a duty to speak out (but in this case I won't).


  • Agree with the referendum - not having a vote on this has allowed it to fester too long.
  • Business has a duty to have voice in this debate. I would be happy to sign a letter
  • We should never join the euro, as a floating pound is a key lever to controlling the economy


  • As a company we have a 'holding view' - let's find out which EU were voting to stay in or out of. We're certainly supportive of a reform agenda.
  • Business has a role to play in the debate - we have to show what it really means for consumers


  • Europe needs two sets of rules, one for the Euro countries and second set for the non-Euro countries
  • The UK will become less significant and so we need to work with our closest neighbours
  • All governments are bureaucratic and inefficient - Westminster is almost as frustrating as Brussels
  • A referendum is a very suboptimal way to make this decision… Unless business leaders join the debate it won't be good enough [/properly informed]


  • In the UK people have historically tended to assess union from an economic perspective, but in the rest of Europe it has always been discussed primarily in terms of social advantage. I see advantages of a social case, being united against threats, for example. I can also see the economic issues, given relative wealth of different countries. The arguments are difficult and complex.
  • Law-making in the EU has gone too far, and it needs to be reined back. Even if we stay in we need renegotiation of the basic contract, rationalisation of what does and does not need to be dealt with at a national and federal level, with more powers returned to national level.


  • Democracy is more important than commerce in this question. We can deal with it if the public says stay or leave - our business will be unaffected by the UK's decision. The sky is not going to fall in if we leave.
  • Businesses should speak out if they have a clear reason that they're affected


  • There should be two tier membership in relation to Eurozone/non-Eurozone
  • Business is comfortable with migration and skilled immigration
  • We must get more constructively involved to really improve competitiveness etc. and reduce the impact of regulation


  • As a CEO it's self-explanatory we should stay in. Leaving would be a huge risk for trade. We want to shape the discussion, not just leave it to the Germans and the French.
  • My view is patriotic - I'm ambitious for this country and I see our future as better inside than outside. But we should definitely not be in the Euro.
  • Business should be involved in the public debate because business is the motor for growth. I'm happy to talk openly about it.


  • If the answer is no, we're in serious disaster territory. With China in a dangerous mood, leaving would be self-harm at a grand scale. The referendum will not solve the problem of the Conservative party, which this referendum is all about - the right-wing anti-EU that must be satisfied.
  • The UK press downplays the genuinely significant influence of the UK. We are prepared, serious, we have reach, but we underestimate our power. Schroder's reforms were inspired by the Anglo-Saxon tradition, by Thatcher's taking on the unions.


  • As Thatcher said, there's no real alternative. Even if we were out we'd have to abide by their rules anyway, and would have no say
  • But the EU is really an act of political will - uniting Europe has been a magnificent success. And economically, harmonisation has brought big benefits in terms of business.
  • We would want reform: for example smaller countries have disproportionate voice. And although I was once in favour of joining the euro, I now can see no benefit, in fact it would be madness.
  • We do need to learn to accept that being in a club means you won't get everything you want.


  • We've had hours of board discussion on 'Brexit'. The board has had very divergent views. We are going to have to formulate a position on this - in Scotland we left it far too late. We have an obligation to make our views know.
  • In terms of reforms, the only thing we're really concerned about is our exemptions from the working times directive.
  • Not being part of the world's four economic powerhouses [China, America, India, EU] is unthinkable.


  • We need the referendum because it's unavoidable and anyway, it gives the PM an opportunity to leverage some change in the EU
  • We want the EU to be much more focused on economic growth and much less on issues that are peripheral to the economy. Other issues are better dealt with a local level. Even as a strong pro-European I believe less is better. We should stay out of the single currency, and be in the outer circle of the EU.
  • Business does have a responsibility to have a public voice in this debate. Business is best placed to talk about the economic issues and mustn't duck the issue.


  • We're slightly concerned about more regulation coming in but we're pretty content with how the EU operates. What's essential for us is free market access.
  • Business should have an active voice in this debate, but we ourselves won't wade in.
  • There are hundreds of trade agreements around the world that really matter to us, and it would be a nightmare having to negotiate all of them separately from Germany and France. The EU plays with bigger chips.


  • Consumer confidence and stability is crucial. We can't be isolated in this globalised world.
  • The borders of the past aren't so useful now. We need fiscal harmony - at some point we should join the euro.
  • The board would not take as radical a position as me.
  • We need to get some clarity on immigration - NOT make the walls higher, but a managed process matched by investment in social infrastructure.


  • It's mainly about' fear of the unknown' - it works pretty well at the moment, why take the risk of adverse consequences
  • For us it's much easier doing business in the EU as a member.
  • I'm not concerned about immigration - we need the talent.
  • However I do worry about Brussels developing an anti-business culture, for example it clearly has an agenda against banking


  • The company has no view and I personally have no settled view. My instinct is 'out'. There is a feeling that nothing changes, because they say 'you can't have a trading block without political union'. If Cameron could get two levels of membership, then I could be persuadable. For my business I don't think it will make a huge difference whether we are in or out.
  • The main effect for our company will be the economic effect on the country - but I have no reason to believe the economy will be damaged if we leave and I'm not sure anyone has a reason to believe that.
  • Business should be involved in this debate but it has all become a very partisan - business should show itself to be reasoned and pragmatic, unspun, and then it could be believed.
  • I believe in small government, localism, I hate waste and I see it everywhere. The accusation that those who want to leave are 'little Englanders' are quite unfair, the view of those who want to stay are just as much based on prejudice.


  • If we could opt out of the EU's social policy and be sure we could keep control of our tax system into the future, I could change my mind - but all in all, I believe we'd be better off with just abrading relationship as Iceland has.
  • If we went alone it would increase our reputation and clout in the world, not reduce it. The President of China came here because we're Britain, not because we're part of the EU.