The UK needs to lead a new drive for a more competitive Europe

Coinciding with the launch of TheCityUK’s latest series of research papers analysing the economic and legal case for EU membership, its Chief Executive Chris Cummings has issued a call to action to all those involved in the debate.

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of TheCityUK, said:

The UK has benefited economically and socially from its membership of the EU. But where we have done best is when we have led from the front, whether that’s been on the development of the Single Market or in negotiating opt-outs in areas which would have disadvantaged the national interest. The Government has done a welcome job in setting out the need to reform the EU but now is the time to press the case and build alliances with other member states to deliver a reformed EU. In my experience other EU members value the UK’s commitment to economically liberal ideals, to free trade and our international viewpoint. They want the UK inside Europe. And that’s where we need to be because that’s where our economic interests are.

We publish two new studies today showing that leaving the EU poses significant risks to the UK’s economic future, undermining the ability of business to grow and compete in world markets. Economic prosperity is reliant on strong alliances. Yes, there is a clear need to reform the EU, a Europe that works for every Member State, but this can only effectively be achieved by the UK being part of this community. We must set out a clear reform agenda for the Europe we all want to see – a more competitive, dynamic, entrepreneurial trading block. One that looks outward with confidence, which operates as a multi-currency union with the Single Market at its heart.

Our member firms have stressed the importance of the UK as a gateway for international business to Europe and to the Single Market. In this, the role of the City as Europe’s financial centre is paramount to international firms investing in London and the UK. The EU is the world’s largest market with 25% of global GDP accounting for around 45% of UK exports and 50% of imports; over 80% of UK firms that trade do business with Europe. EU trade deals with third countries mean that around 60% of UK goods exports fall under the umbrella of trade agreements. From a business perspective the economics of working to reform the EU speak for themselves. It’s a high risk strategy to walk away from our current favoured position.