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British business fears over EU exit

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 02:28

Nov.19 - The President of Britain’s largest business group, the Confederation of British Industry, has called on the government and businesses to retain their ties to Europe and resist any future move to leave the EU. The CBI annual conference came as Britain prepares to do battle with EU leaders over setting the bloc's longer-term budget. Joanna Partridge reports

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Some of the biggest names in British business have been meeting in central London - to discuss 2013 and how to boost growth. The Confederation of British Industry is relieved the recession is over, and its President Roger Carr says trade is key. New markets are particularly important - but that doesn't mean leaving the EU. SOUNDBITE: Roger Carr, President of the CBI, saying (English): "Whatever the popular appeal may be of withdrawal, businessmen and politicians must keep a bridge to Europe firmly in place." That message was aimed directly at the British government. Prime Minister David Cameron is preparing to do battle later this week with other EU leaders over the bloc's budget from 2014. There are concerns the euro zone crisis has reignited anti-European sentiment. Cameron told the audience of entrepreneurs standing up for Britain didn't make him a "bad European". SOUNDBITE: David Cameron, British Prime Minister, saying (English): "I've frozen some benefits, I've frozen some people's pay, I've cut some central budgets by 30%, I've had to cut things like the police budget by 20%. It's simply not credible to go to Europe, and say well we've made all these difficult decisions at home, but when it comes to the European budget we are going to see it go up and up and up." Even though other EU members don't agree with the draft budget, there are fears Britain could end up isolated. And Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour party, said he would not allow Britain to "sleepwalk" towards leaving the EU. PTC The EU has long been Britain's biggest trading partner, but the CBI is urging businesses to concentrate on exporting to new markets. And while that may reshape Britain's relationship with Europe, the UK has been warned not to break things off altogether. Monday brought another day of protests in Athens - as Greek civil servants occupied a government building over job cuts. The euro crisis is still a big worry for firms says John Cridland, CBI Director General. SOUNDBITE: John Cridland, Director General of the CBI, saying (English): "In the coming years it'll be the exports in the rest of the world that grow, but hey we can't put our European export base at risk, particularly not that in Germany. So we have to be part of the single market. I think British business is clear, we want access to the single market of the 27, but we don't want to be caught up with the problems of the euro zone of the 17." But many other countries in Europe feel the same and Britain will have to make an Olympic effort to compete.

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British business fears over EU exit

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 02:28

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