Belfast Telegraph

34 European national business federations urge UK to remain part of EU

European firms are delaying investment in the UK over fears of Brexit, business leaders from across the continent have warned in a plea to voters to back continued membership.

BusinessEurope - which represents 34 national federations - said a vote to leave on June 23 "will only increase the uncertainty".

In a statement, the presidents of the groups - which are overseas equivalents of the CBI - said they " firmly wish to see the UK remain an active and positive member of the EU".

"Full access to the single market is a large part of the UK's attractiveness to foreign investors," they said.

"Yet several federations report that European businesses are postponing their investment decisions in the UK until the political situation becomes clearer.

"A vote to leave the EU will only heighten the uncertainty around current and future investments as some tough negotiations will then begin."

Britain's EU membership had been " of mutual benefit to all of our economies in recent years" in part due to its "strong vision and common sense approach to regulation".

"The referendum is a decision for the British people. But as representatives of businesses from 34 countries across Europe we very much hope the UK stays part of a reformed European Union that is competitive, outward looking and delivers growth, jobs and prosperity for all."

Federations represented are those from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey and the UK.

CBI president Paul Drechsler said: "The business consensus - whether at home or from firms all across Europe and the Commonwealth which invest here - is unequivocally that the UK should remain inside the EU to best support economic growth and create jobs and prosperity.

"Our allies across 33 other European countries who speak for millions of firms of all sizes want to see us build on our decades-long partnership and not risk a significant shock to the UK and global economy, that a vote to leave is expected to bring.

"With less than a month until the vote, it's time for those calling for a Brexit to come clean and provide credible evidence to back up their claims that the UK economy will be better off and opportunities for young people will not be hit in the years following such a result."