Business World

Thursday 18 January 2018

Britain exit from EU: Economist Colm McCarthy addressing Oireachtas committee on possibility

Economist Colm McCarthy is addressing the Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs on a possible UK exit from the EU, and an identification of the critical issues for Ireland.

Britain must remain part of the EU and reform it from within, business leaders told British Prime Minister David Cameron, warning that a possible exit from the bloc could isolate the country's economy.

As Britain gears up for a planned "in or out" referendum in 2017, British employers' group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said there was no viable alternative to remaining in the EU but laid out a wish-list of reforms to make membership more beneficial.


"Closing ourselves off from the world cannot be the answer. The stakes have never been higher," CBI president Mike Rake told the organisation's annual conference.

"Britain's role in the world has always been to embrace openness, to seize opportunity, harness global trends and maximise our integration with the world's economies."

Mr Cameron, seeking to put an end to decades of public and political division over Britain's EU membership, has pledged to fight for reform in Europe and to put the changes to voters in a 2017 referendum, assuming he wins an election due in 2015.

Mr Cameron wants Britain to stay in a reformed EU, but cautioned that the referendum outcome was still in the balance.

"It is my judgment that our current consent for remaining inside the EU is wafer thin," Mr Cameron told the conference.

"We haven't made the argument enough about why Europe matters and, frankly, there are lots of things in the European Union that badly need reform."

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