Business leaders support EU and want UK to stay
A new survey by The European Business Awards, sponsored by RSM, involving business leaders from 32 countries across Europe shows strong support for the EU.
In all, 84% of European business leaders believe their country’s membership of the EU has a positive impact on their business, 83% believe it has a positive impact on their country and 79% believe it has a positive impact on them personally. Furthermore, 67% believe they have a role to play in promoting the EU to their country’s wider population.
The main reasons given in support of the EU were the economic advantages brought by membership, the competitive position a united Europe has against China, Russia and the US, and the importance of integration, stability and unity in the current climate. Costs and bureaucracy were the focus of the minority view.
“These strong results show that for the European business community the case for the EU is clear; the benefits far outweigh the costs,” said Adrian Tripp, CEO of The European Business Awards.
“From a business perspective, people see the value in the commercial opportunities; from a wider perspective, stability and integration are key.”
“At the European Business Awards, we see these benefits of the EU on a day to day, firm to firm, country to country basis. It creates economic opportunities, breaks down barriers and builds understanding. A united European business community is integral to a safer future for all of us,” Tripp added.
The survey conducted by The European Business Awards, Europe’s largest business competition now in its ninth year, and supported by RSM since its inception, also asked business leaders whether the UK should stay in the EU.
The results show that 86% of European business leaders think the UK should stay, with 11% saying the UK should leave. The survey also shows that the majority believe a UK exit would have a negative impact on all concerned.
Of the responses, 84% of business leaders believe a UK exit (Brexit) would have a negative impact on the EU itself, 76% think it would have a negative impact on the UK economy, and 67% think it would have a negative impact on their own country’s economy.
Of the respondees who think the UK should stay in the EU, 25% were from the UK.
“The Eurozone is the biggest trading partner for the United Kingdom and the potential impact of the UK exiting the EU would be highly significant to our clients around the world,” said Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM, the seventh largest network of independent audit, tax and advisory firms.
“This survey clearly shows that European and UK business leaders feel strongly that Europe must maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace and that the UK’s membership is key to doing so.”
A total of 437 European business leaders from 32 European countries took part in the survey, including 124 from the UK, representing over 25 sectors with the heaviest representation coming from IT and technology, manufacturing and the FMCG sector.
Respondees were business heads of companies who have been recognised and rewarded by The European Business Awards, which has a strict criteria for entry in the fields of financial success, growth, ethics and innovation.
Sizes of companies ranged from SMEs to nationals.
The European Business Awards is now in its 9th year. It attracted over 24,000 businesses to the competition last year and in the public vote generated over 150,000 votes from across Europe.