Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK, said:
The reform deal recently announced by the Prime Minister lays solid foundations on which to build a stronger EU. One that will protect and strengthen the Single Market, help to make the EU more competitive, more outward looking and ultimately work better for all its 28 Member States. Ongoing reform is needed and that will be good for the City, the UK economy, and ultimately the wider EU.
This agreement will reshape the UK's membership of the EU. It represents the commitment of all Member States to find a solution to the UK's call for a new settlement with the EU. However, this isn't a done deal - the British people must have their say and beyond that, the hard work of actually delivering these reforms is yet to come. We look forward to the Prime Minister setting out a timetable for the referendum shortly so that we can end this period of prolonged uncertainty for business.
The recognition that competitiveness must be a central goal for the EU is important for its future. That is why it is positive to see that the Prime Minister's call for a renewed focus on competitiveness has been accepted, with agreements to reduce regulatory burden and to pursue an active and ambitious trade and investment policy. The renewed commitment to strengthening the Single Market, particularly in services and capital, are welcome - these are areas where the industry has advocated reform ahead of the formal negotiations. Similarly, the deal acknowledges the principles laid out by the Prime Minister to safeguard the interests of non-Eurozone Member States like the UK. The significance of these aspects of the deal should not be underestimated as many will set the long-term agenda for the EU.
The Prime Minister has secured the UK's position outside "ever closer union". While the Eurozone may wish to continue to formalise the links between its members the future of Europe does not require every member state to travel to a single destination.
London is the financial centre of Europe and is a European asset. The deal recognises the importance of thoughtful and robust regulation of financial markets inside and outside the Eurozone whilst ensuring firms are free to trade across the continent regardless of the location of their headquarters. This is fundamental to the prosperity of the whole of the EU. Our evidence has clearly shown that membership of a reformed EU and continued access to the Single Market is vital for UK competitiveness. It is also the preferred outcome for the majority of our members.