Europe’s business leaders deliver their verdict on “Brexit”

As Europe’s largest business competition, the European Business Awards ensures it has its finger on the pulse of the issues impacting business across Europe. To support its purpose of developing a stronger and more successful enterprise community – a purpose that we as lead sponsor of the European Business Awards fully endorse – it has produced a seminal piece of research taking business leaders’ views on a possible UK exit from the European Union.

The survey, which included the views of over 430 business leaders from 32 countries, has produced some staggering results, as 86% of European business leaders state they think the UK should stay in the EU.

The data shows that 90% of European business leaders from countries outside the UK think that the UK should stay in the EU, and 75% of UK business leaders say the same. Only 23% of UK business leaders think the UK should exit.

What makes this survey particularly noteworthy is not only the calibre of the respondents – all successful business leaders – but also the wide variety of companies they represent. The sample ranges from SMEs to multinationals in over 25 different sectors, who, predominantly, all agreed on the importance of the UK staying in the EU.

One of the main reasons cited by UK respondents to stay in the EU was the economic advantages brought by membership, including a strong trading position, free market, access to skilled workers and greater commercial opportunities. The Eurozone is the biggest trading partner for the UK and the potential economic impact of the EU exit would be significant. UK respondents who believe that the UK should exit the EU cite high costs, bureaucracy, damage to the UK’s identity, and a lack of belief in the EU as reasons for their view.

Reasons provided by the other European countries included the important role the UK plays in influencing the EU and countering large trading economies, as well as its ability further afield, allowing the EU to remain focused on its competitive position against China, Russia and the US.

This survey shows that European and UK business leaders are united in their stance: for Europe to maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace, UK membership is key.



Jean M Stephens
Chief Executive Officer