Open Europe Blog

British Chambers of Commerce urges early EU referendum

John Longworth, head of the British Chambers of Commerce, has said that an EU referendum should take place “no more than twelve months after the general election,” in order to avoid two years of uncertainty. He added, “Chamber members fundamentally support the Prime Minister’s objective: Britain in a reformed Europe. The next government must set out what it will do to protect the UK against the prospect of being in a club where all the decisions are made by, and for, the Eurozone.” In an interview with The Financial Times, Longworth said, “If Labour forms an administration the uncertainty would not be diminished, they would be under huge pressure to have a referendum…business people would always be mindful of the possibility that there could be a referendum at some time.”

Meanwhile, in a Financial Times article assessing the various analyses of the costs and benefits of UK withdrawal from the EU, Open Europe Director Mats Persson is quoted as saying, “Most of the existing studies lack a credible counterfactual and they tend to exaggerate the costs and benefits of Brexit depending on which side of the argument the authors sit on. The pessimists say that, were Britain to leave the EU, it would become North Korea, while the optimists claim it would turn into Hong Kong. Neither is realistic.”

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