The UK in the EU

As the debate on the UK’s membership of the EU intensifies, more and more people are stepping forward and making the case in favour of EU membership. See what they say


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The UK in the EU – What They Say

As the debate on the UK’s membership of the EU intensifies, more and more people are stepping forward and making the case in favour of EU membership. See what they say.


"There are distinct benefits from being part of the EU. I would be concerned there would be an impact on British jobs directly as a result of pulling out of the EU."

Jill McDonald, McDonald’s North West Division President


"The EU remains the UK's largest overseas market, accounting for around 60% of national exports. The negative impact of the UK leaving the EU would be significant on UK companies and the balance of trade."

Lesley Bachelor, Director General at the Institute of Export (May 2014)

To read more click here


"That’s the chief reason we’re in favour of the UK maintaining its long-established place at the heart of the European Union: it provides greater investment stability and certainty. But, as a global business with feet planted firmly on both sides of the Channel, we also believe that the UK’s national interests are best served by a close relationship with Europe."

Ben van Beurden, Shell Chief Executive (March 2014)

To read more click here.


"We benefit from, and support the UK being in the EU"

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive of Diageo, the world's biggest spirits maker

To read more click here.


The UK “acts as a gateway to Europe for many financial institutions and corporates from around the world. Their establishment and subsequent growth in the UK is no coincidence but is linked to the country’s membership of the world’s largest single market, the European Union.” 

Daniel Pinto, Co-Chief Executive of JPMorgan’s corporate & investment bank in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

To read more click here.


The UK would be better off staying inside the European Union "than kicking against the table" and voting to leave. "We are a positive contributor in that sense to the UK economy and we [would] have to look at that then for the UK v Europe, just like we do in any other country that is not in the EU."

Paul Polman, the Dutch chief executive of the consumer multinational Unilever

To read more click here.


“Jobs and the growth of Britain’s economy depend on maintaining and increasing exports to the EU, particularly as the European economy begins to recover. This will be a much more difficult task if businesses have to contend with a Britain that has decided to exit the EU. Existing trade arrangements will be at risk and Britain will have no influence in making the rules in the future.”

Citi Bank Chief Executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (January 2014)

To read more click here.


“We all need to know where Britain’s future lies in a changing global economy. We have looked beyond the political rhetoric to examine the pros and cons of EU membership and British business is unequivocal; the Single Market is fundamental to our future."

“We are better off in a reformed EU than outside with no influence. Each year, membership is worth £3000 to every household in this country."

John Cridland, CBI Director-General (November 2013) 
The CBI has produced a report entitled Our Global Future: the Business Vision for a Reformed EU’.


"If something went dramatically wrong with the trading relationships between the UK and the EU, it would affect us and a lot of businesses. If a parting regressed into protectionism towards the rest of Europe, then that would be a bad thing and a backward step.”

Phil Couchman, CEO, DHL Express UK and Ireland (October 2013) 
To read more click here.


The UK is part of the European Union — that’s very important. From the foreign investor’s point of view, I hope that the UK will remain an EU member. A lot of regulations are under the EU. If the UK, after departing from the EU, made unique regulations, unique standards, that would become an obstacle."

Toshiyuki Shiga, COO, Nissan, (October 2013)  
To read more click here.

Europe is the bedrock of our international trade. It should be viewed as the launch-pad from which our global trade can expand – not the landmass from which we retreat. And if we are to avoid an exit vote in any referendum – it is essential that the voice of British business is loud and clear – in extolling the virtues of future engagement – not as a reluctant participant – but as the lynchpin of our wider global trade ambitions.”

Sir Roger Carr, President, CBI (November 2012)
To read more click here.

The UK must not become a peripheral country on the edge of Europe. This will be damaging to long-term prospects of British business and also in the country's ability to attract new international companies to set up and employ people in the country. “

Sir Richard Branson Founder, Virgin Group (January 2013)
To read more click here

It is really poppycock to believe that the City can survive in its present form if it is not an integral part of the European financial services framework. London must have complete and unfettered access to the wholesale Euro markets … We know that London benefits from attracting firms that want easy access to the Single Market. Those firms arrive here and create jobs across the UK as their operations develop.”

Gerry Grimstone Chairman, CityUK (October 2012)
To read more click here.

"The survey of more than 400 businesses employing more than 1.5 million direct employees shows 78% of firms favour staying in the EU, including 77% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Just 10% think it is in their interests for the UK to leave the EU (11% of SMEs). "

CBI/ YouGov Survey (September 2013)
To read more click here.

Firms want what is best for jobs and growth, and there is genuine concern that an exit would hit business investment and access to the world’s largest trading bloc … Businesses do have some serious concerns about the EU, but ultimately they want the UK inside the tent winning the argument for reform.”

John Cridland Director-General, CBI (September 2013)
To read more click here.

Britain must not gamble on its future in Europe. The stakes are enormous. It is naïve to think we can simply pull up the drawbridge and carry on as normal. The debate must move on to how we can make Europe work to support jobs, growth and higher living standards. We need to focus on the real prize – how we can get Europe to work better supporting companies that are looking to sell into the EU, to export to new markets in the rest of the world and develop new products and services. We must be at the centre of the change we want to see in Europe, to help secure the prize and ensure we share in it. Billions of pounds of trading opportunities are at stake and we must keep the focus – and the wider debate – on these opportunities which will unleash growth in our economy now and in the longer term. The clear message from manufacturers, who employ millions in the UK, is that we must lead on this and play an active part in shaping the EU from within.”

Terry Scuoler Chief Executive, EEF (October, 2013)
To read more click here.

An EEF report found that:

85 per cent of EEF members support Britain’s on-going membership of the EU

UK benefited from £2.7 billion of R&D spending carried out by EU parented companies in 2011

37 per cent of companies would have to make significant changes to their business plans if the UK left the EU – and one third would be less likely to invest here

The UK attracts the most foreign investment out of all countries in Europe

Almost 90 per cent of EEF manufacturers sell directly or indirectly to customers in the EU

Three in five members say the EU is key to their export strategy

Report: Manufacturing: Our Future In Europe (2013)
To read more click here.

"If we were to leave the EU it is a fallacy of the eurosceptics to say we would just have automatic and easy access to the single market. We will have to pay for access to the single market and we will still have to apply the regulations that Europe produces - into which we would have no input whatsoever."

Sir John Major, Former Prime Minister, Great Britain and Northern Ireland (October, 2013)
 To read more click here.

"A non-EU Britain looks bleak, dead and buried – an economy left out in the cold. UK firms may need to pay EU export tariffs and would still have to meet EU production standards. […] It would be an open invitation for major businesses to up sticks for another EU country, putting thousands of people out of work in the UK in the process.”

More than 70 per cent of imports enter the single market at zero or reduced tariffs. The EU-US trade deal is expected to generate €80bn (£67.7bn) worth of benefits for the EU and create 2m jobs. The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement saves EU exporters £1.35bn annually in tariffs. UK companies alone benefit by £500m a year, while 50 per cent of foreign direct investment to the UK comes from other EU member states. Over 40 per cent of UK exports go to the EU and they are tariff-free. More than 300,000 UK companies operate in the EU.”

Helen Brand, Chief Executive, ACCA (October 2013)
To read more, click here.

Let me be absolutely clear: leaving the EU would be economic suicide. You cannot overstate the damage it would do to British livelihoods and prosperity. Three million British jobs are linked to the Single Market – three million. As a member we are part of the world’s biggest borderless market place, made up of 500 million people. It’s now the largest economy in the world – ahead of the United States – and it’s where we do around half of all our trade.”

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, Great Britain and Northern Ireland October (2013)
To read more click here.

The TUC is concerned that uncertainty around the UK's relationship with Europe could further jeopardise investment and jobs at a time when Britain has not recovered from the global financial crisis, with high unemployment, especially among young people. This is particularly the case where major unionised companies have invested in plants in the UK because EU membership gives access to the single market.”

TUC, General Council Statement on Europe (September 2013)
To read more click here.

"Every European firm would be gone in very short order"

Michael Sherwood, Vice President, Goldman Sachs (September 2013)
To read more click here.

More than 1,300 Japanese companies have invested in the UK, as part of the single market of the EU, and have created 130,000 jobs, more than anywhere else in Europe. This fact demonstrates that the advantage of the UK as a gateway to the European market has attracted Japanese investment. The government of Japan expects the UK to maintain this favourable role.”

Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom (July 2013)
To read more click here.

The UK attracts strong Australian investment partly due to our long-term links but also because of the UK’s position in the EU market. Australia’s strong links with the UK allow Australian businesses to use the UK as a platform for trade and investment in the broader EU market.”

Bob Carr, Foreign Minister, Australia (July 2013)
To read more click here.

A study by TheCityUK, the lobbying body for the finance industry, of the attitudes of 101 UK-based chief executives, board members, directors and partners from the financial and professional services sector and found that:

84% want the UK to remain a member of the EU

94% recognised the value of staying in the Single Market

90% of business say that the decision about EU membership is important for the future of their business

88% agree EU membership economically benefits the UK as a whole

37% said they would relocate staff to somewhere within the single market if Britain ended up outside it.

41% said David Cameron’s proposal to hold a referendum on EU membership by 2017 was causing uncertainty.

95% say that access to the Single European Market is important to the UK’s competitiveness

More than eight out of ten respondents believe that staying in the EU is the best option for the competitiveness of the UK as a financial centre.


Almost 90% think an exit from the Single Market and the EU would damage the UK’s competitiveness.

“The City Speaks - A milestone study of the views of financial and related professional services leaders on the EU” (October 2013)
To read more click here.

The growth in financial and related professional services in this country over the last two decades is closely linked to the UK’s membership of the EU. The attractiveness of the UK as the “Gateway to Europe” means the UK enjoys very significant net inflows of foreign direct investment. Our research has shown that the benefits of EU membership are numerous for our respondents, not least in the gains we make from trade, increased competition, and by providing access to the world’s largest market.”

James Nixon Chief Economist, TheCityUK (October 2013)
To read more click here.

We have a growing relationship with the European Union as an institution which has a growing voice in the world – and we want to see a strong British voice in that European Union. That is in the American interest.”

Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (January 2013)
To read more click here.




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