Rival business groups clash over EU reform

BRITAIN must seek to reform the EU from within, according to a manifesto unveiled today by a pro-EU business group.

Business for New Europe, which says it is in Britain’s interests to stay within the organisation, launched its manifesto – entitled A Europe That Works – this morning.

It insists that the UK “will achieve more of what it wants if it gets stuck in rather than opts out” and claims the support of more than 170 business leaders, including CBI chairman Sir Mike Rake.

Among the signatories to the manifesto were Stuart Gulliver (chief executive, HSBC), Sir John Peace (chairman, Standard Chartered), Stefano Pessina (chairman, Alliance Boots), Ian Powell (chairman and senior partner, PwC), Harriet Green (chief executive, Thomas Cook), John McFarlane (chairman, Aviva), Simon Borrows (chief executive, 3i), John Fallon (chief executive, Pearson) and Sir Martin Broughton (chairman, British Airways).

But Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Eurosceptic group Business for Britain, asked whether the manifesto’s title referred to policies that work “for British business or Brussels bureaucrats?”

“The prescriptions offered by the manifesto are, at best, piecemeal when EU regulation is choking off growth and job creation in this country,” he added.

Business for Britain has signed up an extra 250 supporters, taking its total to 750. Latest signatories announced yesterday include Sir Rocco Forte (Rocco Forte Hotels), Tim Martin (boss of JD Wetherspoon), Charlie Mullins (managing director, Pimlico Plumbers), David Webster (former chairman, International Hotels Group), Lord Edmiston (International Motors) and Adrian McAlpine (The Property Executive of Sir Robert McAlpine Enterprises).