Europe in or out? The Implications for UK Companies and their Stakeholders
5 June 2014
Meeting Time: 17.30 - 23.00
With the Conservative Party committed to introducing a Bill facilitating a referendum no later than 2017 on the UK’s continuing membership of the European Community, media rhetoric will continue to inform the views of many potential voters with headline grabbing statements supporting mainly the case against continuing membership.
Politically, the Conservatives are constrained by the coalition understanding with the Liberal Democrats whose support for Europe is of course one of their key policy strands. Meanwhile, the rise in popular support for UKIP offers the option of a real alternative vote for those favouring withdrawal from Europe. Similarly, the ramifications of the Scottish Independence vote are causing many to wonder what future arrangements would best suit England in the event of a Scottish ‘yes’ vote.
Running parallel to this political debate is the more understated but vitally important business case for continuing and probably renegotiated membership which has the overwhelming support of UK companies whose trade with Europe far exceeds any other markets.
Clearly there are many disadvantages to being in Europe under the current arrangements and the repatriation of powers and curtailment of the overarching decision making powers of Brussels would undoubtedly receive majority support in the UK.
What should UK companies be doing therefore to communicate the real facts demonstrating that whatever the political or emotional factors involved, UK businesses would support continuing membership though with renegotiated terms?
Gisela Stuart, Brendan Donnelly and Andy Bagnall shared their thoughts on these issues including:
- The status quo as an option.
- The real consequences of withdrawal from Europe.
- What are the major changes required if the UK remains a member?
- What is the role of business in this debate and how should they present their views to stakeholders?