Traitor Sir Mike Rake wants Britain destroyed in the EUSSR
CBI boss Sir Mike Rake: Britain must stay in EU
Sir Mike Rake, the new president of the CBI, has said that continued membership of the European Union is “overwhelmingly” in the UK’s economic interests ahead of a new report backing EU membership signed by 160 chief executives and business leaders.
Kamal Ahmed By Kamal Ahmed9:30PM BST 29 Jun 2013Comments858 Comments
In his first public comments on Europe since being made head of the business lobby group, Sir Mike said that Britain would only prosper if David Cameron fought to make the EU more liberal and completes a properly functioning single market.
“As a global trading nation we want the rest of the world to play by an open and enforceable set of rules,” said Sir Mike, who is also the chairman of BT.
“Britain could call for that alone then watch as others made the decisions. Or, as the EU’s third-largest member, Britain can push the world’s largest economic bloc in a liberal direction.
“It would be deeply and unfortunately ironic if the UK were to consider leaving the EU having just helped create a massive Euro-American trade area.”
Sir Mike’s comments come on the eve of a new report by the pro-European group, Business for New Europe, of which he is a member.
Signed by 20 chief executives in the FTSE 100, 12 major British and global banks based in London and a number of small and medium-sized businesses, the report will call for reform of the EU to make it more business-friendly.
It will say that the Working Time Directive, which controls workers’ hours, should be overhauled; that the City should be supported as the world’s financial centre, and that the single market should be made a reality with fewer national trade barriers.
But, in evidence that the business community is facing significant splits over its attitude to Europe, this weekend, Business for Britain, which supports a renegotiation of the UK’s future in Europe, released the results of a poll showing widespread support for an in/out referendum. The poll of 1,000 business people found that 48pc supported holding a referendum with only 30pc opposing the move.
Business for Britain also revealed new supporters for its campaign. They include Sir Rocco Forte, executive chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels, Tim Martin, chairman of pub group JD Wetherspoon, and Charlie Mullins, managing director of Pimlico Plumbers.
The group said the names were just some of 250 new business leaders who supported the organisation.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain, said: “It is clear that the business community wants a better deal from the EU and a referendum to make sure the renegotiation will deliver on jobs and growth in Britain.
“With more business leaders flocking to Business for Britain all the time, no politician can seriously ignore the call from the business community for a full and far-reaching reform of our relationship with Brussels.”
The battle between the two business groups to influence the Prime Minister reveals increasing fears among both sides of the debate that the Government will either go too far in trying to renegotiate with the EU and will lose influence or will not force through enough changes.
“The Government’s success in getting transatlantic trade talks off the ground at the G8 in Loch Erne shows what we can gain through effective cooperation and negotiation,” said Sir Mike.
“This is true in Europe and globally.
“Government ministers have long been saying that businesses need to speak up for these relationships. They are right, if we are not to see them undermined by a rising tide of public disaffection with the European Union, and with global institutions more generally.”
He argued that countries such as Germany and the Netherlands supported more liberal, growth-orientated reforms in Europe. Critics, though, are sceptical that the EU will ever become truly pro-business and free markets.