What Do Business Leaders Think About The UK Leaving The European Union?

published Feb 04, 2015
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Recent numbers show that just a few support this idea, despite widespread frustration at excessive regulation.


To the surprise of some, a recent poll among executive directors and chairmen at the UK’s 500 biggest companies has shown business leaders publicly backing Britain’s membership of the EU. They fear that the contrary situation would turn into considerable job losses and many operations moving to other countries.

In a different position, there are some business leaders interested in renegotiating Britain’s role in the EU. They are worried about the impact of the red tape from Brussels over the British economy. Opposite to the results by the general public, where 17% voted for Britain’s exit of the EU, only 1% of the 108 boardroom-level bosses that conformed the mentioned poll supported the so called “Brexit”. Among the other participants, the results were split between those in favor of a reform and those that want to keep things as they are today.

The two positive aspects that were highlighted as the main benefit of the union are free trade with other EU countries and freedom of movement (which facilitates recruitment). On the other hand, excessive regulation to companies came out as a huge downside of the union for the British economy. This last complaint was supported by a significant majority (79%) of the poll.

The ideal solution would therefore be to keep the benefits of the single market while negotiating a more hands-off approach from Brussels. In fact, 45% of the business leaders voted for a reform in which Britain would stay in the economic community but with the condition of more independent political links. To some though, a referendum on EU membership is seen as a threat to several British companies doing business with Europe and to the whole financial system.