WARNINGS from Philips chief executive Frans van Houten over a British referendum on the EU have been dismissed as “apocalyptic” by eurosceptic lobby group Business for Britain.
Van Houten said at the weekend that the electronics firm would have to “think very carefully” about its future in the UK should it vote to leave. Overall, Philips employs around 1,800 staff in the UK, jobs van Houten implies may be at risk in the event of a Brexit.
His words, reported in the Telegraph, were seized upon by Business for New Europe which said: “Philips are just one of many companies in the UK saying they would have to reconsider their presence if we left the EU.”
But Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain, which supports an in/out referendum, said: “Some firms may want to keep the status quo even if it only benefits a minority, but apocalyptic warnings in the last EU debate proved wrong a decade ago. Business will thrive either inside a hugely reformed EU, or outside with the right deal.”