Anton Colella: Europe - The First Salvoes

Anton Colella
By Anton Colella, ICAS CEO

23 October 2015

Anton Colella says ICAS will play an active role in informing the debate over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.

The first skirmishes in the battle for Europe have begun.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney this week said membership of the EU makes the UK economy more dynamic.

However, in a measured speech, he also warned that the greater openness provided by EU membership can make the UK more vulnerable to economic shocks.

Recently Sir Stuart Rose was unveiled as the leader for the campaign to stay in – Britain Stronger in Europe.

While those who want to leave the EU are still debating how or if they will present a united front.

The new business secretary, Sajid Javid, has already scolded some business leaders for claiming they want to stay in Europe no matter what.

He says it’s doesn’t help negotiations for reform to say…‘the rules of this club need to change…… but don’t worry, we’ll always be members no matter what happens?’.

At ICAS, as always, we want to bring evidence and reason to the fore.

We have already published an excellent paper on “What would the impact be if Britain withdrew from the EU?

This points out that our fortunes are so tightly linked with Europe that it may be difficult to take an entirely different tack if we withdraw.

We also conducted a survey which suggested that 82% of our members want to stay in the EU.

This survey will help us get down in to the detail of what reforms we should encourage the UK Government to negotiate on behalf of British business.

For instance it tells us: “There was a wide spread of views on the benefit or burden of: EU reporting and auditing requirements; procurement and state aid rules; environmental and health & safety requirements; and VAT rules; with a tendency to view these as slightly more of burden than a benefit.”

The referendum may not be held till the end of 2017. So, this debate has some way to run.

But like with the Scottish Independence referendum, ICAS intends to play a part in the public interest informing the debate and reflecting the views of our members.

This Chief Executive article signals our first salvo.


  • Opinion
  • Europe

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