84% of European business leaders believe their country’s membership of the EU has a positive impact on their business, 83% believe it has a positive impact on their country and 79% believe it has a positive impact on them personally. Furthermore, 67% believe they have a role to play in promoting the EU to their country’s wider population.
The main reasons given in support of the EU were the economic advantages brought by membership, the competitive position a united Europe has against China, Russia and the US, and the importance of integration, stability and unity in the current climate. Costs and bureaucracy were the focus of the minority view.
Adrian Tripp, CEO of The European Business Awards, said: “These strong results show that for the European business community the case for the EU is clear; the benefits far outweigh the costs. From a business perspective, people see the value in the commercial opportunities; from a wider perspective, stability and integration are key.”
He continued: “At the European Business Awards we see these benefits of the EU on a day to day, firm to firm, country to country basis. It creates economic opportunities, breaks down barriers and builds understanding. A united European business community is integral to a safer future for all of us.”
The survey conducted by The European Business Awards, Europe’s largest business competition now in its 9th year, and supported by RSM since its inception, also asked business leaders whether the UK should stay in the EU.
The results show that 86% of European business leaders* think the UK should stay in the EU, with 11% saying the UK should leave. The survey also shows that the majority believe a UK exit would have a negative impact on all concerned.
84% of business leaders believe a UK exit would have a negative impact on the EU itself, 76% think it would have a negative impact on the UK economy, and 67% think it would have a negative impact on their own country’s economy.
Of the respondees who think the UK should stay in the EU, 25% were from the UK.
Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM, the 7th largest network of independent audit, tax and advisory firms, said: “The Eurozone is the biggest trading partner for the United Kingdom and the potential impact of the UK exiting the EU would be highly significant to our clients around the world. This survey clearly shows that European and UK business leaders feel strongly that Europe must maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace and that the UK’s membership is key to doing so.”