Britain’s relationship with Europe needs to change to survive, a manufacturing leader has said.
David Ost, regional director of the EEF, said David Cameron had laid out “a compelling vision” for the shift needed to secure a future for the continent in his speech yesterday. The Prime Minister said his Conservative party’s manifesto for the 2015 general election will ask for a mandate to negotiate a “new settlement” for Britain in Europe, which will be put to voters in a referendum by the end of 2017.
Mr Ost said it was in the interests of businesses that Europe remained “a dynamic economy creating jobs and prosperity.”
He said: “We must work better with Europe to make Europe work better for Britain.
“But this strategy is not without risk, if the door to a UK exit from the union is open it will diminish our ability to influence the reforms that Europe needs.
“It is far from certain, moreover, that the outcome of negotiations will be clear cut, meaning that greater uncertainty about UK membership – particularly for business – will prevail.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband warned the promise of a referendum would put Europe through “years of uncertainty”.
He accused the Prime Minister of taking “a huge gamble with our economy”.