LONDON Jan 21 European aerospace group Airbus
, one of Britain's largest employers, has voiced
concerns over the possibility of the country leaving the
European Union (EU), saying the benefits of an alternative
economic model needed to be proven.
The Franco-German company, that employs 17,000 workers in
Britain, is the latest large foreign investor to say it favours
Britain continuing its membership of the 28-member trading bloc.
Car giants Ford and Japan's Nissan have said
they would have to re-evaluate their operations if Britain
pulled out of the EU in a proposed referendum.
Airbus, formerly known as EADS, employs most of its staff
in Bristol and north Wales where the company's passenger plane
wings are made and assembled.
"Airbus Group, we note, would never have achieved its
success to date without a working and effective partnership of
countries and companies within Europe, which only collectively
can deliver the scale required to be globally successful," UK
Chief Executive Robin Southwell will tell attendees at a company
event late on Tuesday.
"Any other economic model which seeks or offers to change
the dynamic and advantageous characteristics which we presently
enjoy - and believe are optimal to our delivering sustained
growth and employment - would need to specifically address this
quite proper challenge in a detailed and compelling manner."
Prime Minister David Cameron promised voters he would
renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership before holding
an in-out referendum by 2017 if his ruling Conservatives were
returned to power after elections due in May 2015.
The centre-right party is trailing in the polls and faces a
rising threat from the small, anti-EU UK Independence Party
Last month Business Secretary Vince Cable told an economic
conference the chances of Britain leaving the EU were "very
remote" with a five percent chance of happening.