More than three million jobs will be put at risk unless the UK maintains its place at the heart of Europe, a group of 20 British businessmen have warned.
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph
that was co-ordinated by lobby group Business for New Europe
, the businessmen argued that the European Union was vital to the country’s economic interests. As a result, they urged the Coalition Government to “re-engage in the decision-making process in Europe”.
Signatories including Virgin
tycoon Sir Richard Branson, chairman of BT
Sir Mike Rake and chief executive of advertising group WPP
Sir Martin Sorrell said it was “imperative” that the UK had a seat at the negotiating table when key decisions about the future of Europe were taken.
“It is in Britain’s interest that the Euro survives and we, therefore, should do everything we can to ensure the necessary steps are taken to guarantee its viability. The EU’s single market, whilst not complete, is of great importance to the UK,” the letter read.
The EU accounted for more than half of the country’s trade, which meant that “we must deepen and widen it, and push for reform in services, telecoms, the digital arena and energy,” the letter added. Such a move was important not least because, according to Government estimates, about three million British jobs relied on exports to European partners.
“The EU’s institutions, from the Commission to the European Court of Justice, exist mainly to safeguard the single market’s level playing field. This narrative on the single market has to be the bedrock of our re-engagement with Europe. We are more likely to achieve this by remaining as closely involved as possible in the EU decision-making process,” the letter said.
Its publication came only a couple of weeks after Citigroup
economist and former Bank of England
policy maker, Willem Buiter, warned that a full breakup of the Eurozone could result in a global depression that would last for years and see unemployment rates in the West hitting 20%.