In a meeting with the Prime Minister, the Directors-General of the business federations from Germany, France, Spain, The Netherlands, alongside the CBI and the pan-European group BUSINESSEUROPE, will say that EU membership is the bedrock of their collaboration with the UK.
The CBI says membership is an important factor in the UK maintaining and attracting £377 bn worth of investment from these four countries alone. In turn, the UK has £185bn of investments in those four Member States, according to OECD figures from 2014.
Joined by senior figures from European companies, including Siemens, Cosmetics Europe, Banco Sabadell, Scottish Power (owned by Iberdrola) and Kannegiesser, they will make the case for why EU membership with full access to the Single Market helps create jobs, growth and prosperity in the UK and Europe as a whole.
The CBI says the prospect of an exit from the EU presents a major risk to both business and foreign direct investment in the UK. Recent independent PwC research commissioned by the CBI found that under a potential scenario where the UK leaves the EU and instead trades under World Trade Organisation rules, investment could be lower by a quarter by 2020 compared to the UK staying in. Even in a scenario where the UK swiftly agrees a free trade deal with the EU, investment could still be 16% lower than if we were to stay in during the same period.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“Anyone in business, small, medium or large, knows that partnerships do not form overnight, they take years to establish their true value.
“European businesses are clear that 40 years’ worth of collaboration through the EU is critical to attracting investment to the UK – let’s not turn our back on our closest partners.
“We must not put barriers in the way that could risk over £550 billion worth of investment between the UK and four major European economies alone – which supports jobs across the country. Working together inside the EU has established a strong relationship based on mutual trust, business certainty and common rules. It also means we can draw on our collective strength to be world leaders in research and innovation.
“There are many reasons why foreign firms choose to put their money into the UK – our time zone, talent and language – but there’s no doubt, being in the EU with full access to the Single Market is a large part of the UK’s appeal.
“Why would we choose to break the world’s strongest cross-border trading partnership, which has been four decades in the making?”