IOD Supports UK Membership Of A Reformed European Union
By Ilona Billington
LONDON--U.K. businesses want the U.K. to remain part of the European Union, but many say that a renegotiation of the current terms are required in order to make the union better support companies, a survey by employers group the Institute of Directors showed Wednesday.
The IOD's director general Simon Walker is set to share that view with attendees of the group's annual conference.
"IOD members value the single market, but there's much less enthusiasm for EU intervention in corporate governance, employment law and home affairs," Mr. Walker will say. "As business leaders I believe we must make the case for a reformed, more equitable relationship--but one that still has Britain at the heart of European influence."
The U.K.'s coalition government was earlier this year embroiled in a heated debate over whether to offer a referendum on EU membership.
Prime Minster David Cameron has said he wants Britain to remain a member of the EU but has insisted the bloc must become more competitive and flexible and less bureaucratic.
However, the strength of so-called euro skeptic feeling within Mr. Cameron's center-right Conservative Party and some Britons has alarmed European leaders and some in the business community who fear it could lead to the U.K.'s departure from the EU and lasting damage to the nation's economy and standing.
The IOD's survey of its members that was conducted earlier this year shows the situation remains a key one for business.
If a referendum were held, 49% of those surveyed said they would vote for the U.K. to remain a member of the EU and a third said continued membership would depend on a renegotiation. But despite signs that improvements are needed, just 15% of the employers surveyed by the IOD said they would vote for a British exit.
That survey result supports the case for reform that the IOD plans to begin.
"Reform is possible, if the political will exists," Mr. Walker will say. "Given that 99% of all EU businesses are small to medium-sized enterprises, accounting for the vast majority of all European jobs, creating a single market for the services market and for the digital economy must be a priority."
Write to Ilona Billington at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires 09-17-131915ET Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.