You may have read in the news that many UK business leaders gave a qualified welcome to the draft agreement published today by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, which includes measures intended to increase economic competitiveness, and protections for Britain from further political integration.
Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, stated that the top reform policies for IoD members are to reduce unnecessary red tape from Brussels, to make it clear to Europe that the UK is not on a path towards further political integration – and to make the EU more competitive.
He said: ‘There are proposals on these areas in Tusk’s draft which hold promise, although no one should get carried away just yet. Cutting back on pointless bureaucracy which stifles companies must be one of the top aims of these negotiations, so we welcome the commitment to scale back EU interventions in areas which should be left up to individual countries (or, in EU jargon, break the principle of subsidiarity). We were also pleased to see that the draft says the EU will put in place burden reduction targets for regulation where feasible.
“IoD members are interested in how the negotiations practically reduce the barriers in the way of growing their business, taking on new staff, becoming more internationally competitive. Much of the focus will be on the headline announcement of a ‘red card’ to block proposals from the EU Commission, but frankly this is not likely to be used often, as it needs too many member states to agree.”
The majority of IOD members are awaiting the final outcome of the renegotiations before deciding how to vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union – the full results of this survey are published in this Institute of Directors report.
Lesley Batchelor, director general of the Institute of Export, commented: “ When we talk to our members we are acutely aware that their interests revolve around trade and being part of a trading bloc is beneficial however, the measures which IoD ranked as their most important priorities are to:
- Reduce the volume of unnecessary EU red tape (60% said this was one of their top 3 concerns)
- End or amend the EU’s goal of “ever closer union” (38%)
- Make the Eurozone economies more competitive (32%)
Are these the IOE member’s priorities too?”
We welcome the thoughts of members and non-members working in international trade – is the draft EU agreement better or worse than you expected, and why? Tweet us at @IOExport and tell us what you think.