We need massive change in Europe - or to leave - say business leaders

Sarah Coles
Europe / broken symbol on a wallMore photos of themes about crisis of the world countriess in my personal Lightbox:
Europe / broken symbol on a wallMore photos of themes about crisis of the world countriess in my personal Lightbox:



A new report has called for an overhaul of our relationship with Europe. If David Cameron doesn't negotiate major changes to everything from employment rules to banking regulations, the authors suggest he ought to lead the UK out of the EC.

The study, called Change or Go, says that the areas for reform that Cameron has outlined so far - focusing on allowing the UK to change its welfare rules - don't go far enough. It sets out ten reforms it wants to see before the referendum on Europe in 2017.

The suggestions

These include the reintroduction of a national veto - to block any laws the UK fundamentally disagrees with. It also calls for action to give the UK control of its own social and employment laws, and control its own migration policy.
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The EU should also exempt Britain from its stated aim of 'ever closer union', and introduce a mechanism for protecting non-Eurozone states.

It should force the EU to reduce the burden of regulation on business, and reverse 'damaging' financial laws. In addition, it needs to show it is capable of securing comprehensive free trade deals with other countries.

It also wants to see the EU budget cut for good and new laws forcing the budget to be transparent.

Leave

If Cameron doesn't secure these changes, Business for Britain - the group behind the report - wants to see the UK leave Europe. It argues that there are few good reasons to stay anyway, because less than 5% of companies export directly to the EU, whereas 100% of them are forced to sign up to the restrictions imposed as part of being a member.

It also shares its belief that EU countries are not the kinds of powerhouses we want to link our economic future to - as Europe's share of global GDP drops, and its population ages. It argues that the UK is big enough, and attractive enough to global partners in its own right, to thrive outside the EU.

The agenda

The group boasts an enormous number of high profile business leaders, including Lord Bell (chairman of BPP Communications), Lord Bilimoria (Chairman of Cobra Beer Partnership), Roger Bootle (Managing Director of Capital Economics), and a number of fund managers including Helena Morrisey and Alexander Darwall.

However, it's worth pointing out that Business for Britain is an unashamedly Eurosceptic group, ideologically opposed to Britain's involvement in the EU. The fact that they have come out so ardently in favour of enormous change or leaving the EU, should come as no surprise at all.

There remain large numbers of business leaders and experts who warn that leaving the EU would be incredibly damaging - including John Allan, the chairman of Tesco, who has warned that it would be relatively simple for major businesses to simply move their headquarters out of London and into another European city.

But what do you think? Are you happy in the EU, or do you think we ought to get out? Let is know in the comments.

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