Wednesday 11 May 2016 12:18 pm

EU referendum: EU businesses say Brexit will hurt them - but they want a tough stance in any post-Brexit trade negotiations

Business across Europe want the UK and the EU to agree a trade deal in the event of Brexit — but they think negotiators should take a hard line and impose strict duties and tariff barriers to make the UK pay the price for leaving.

Two-thirds of listed companies in Germany, France, Italy and Spain said that Brexit will weaken the European Union and adversely affect their own business, in a survey by law firm King and Wood Mallesons (KWM), published today.

Firms across the Eurozone’s four largest countries also said their economies could benefit if Britain votes to leave the EU, however, from London losing its status as Europe’s preeminent financial centre, but they worried that Brexit would set a dangerous precedent for other countries to leave the EU.

The results


KWM surveyed 300 listed companies from Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The results show that while firms believe Brexit would hurt their business, they think they could gain in certain areas. Additionally, they would like a trade deal with the UK but do not believe it should come at any price.

68 per cent – Brexit would hurt their business

65 per cent – The EU economy would suffer after Brexit

67 per cent – Want their government to negotiate a trade deal with the UK

62 per cent – Believe any trade deal should penalise the UK

The referendum campaign kicked into a new gear this week as a host of politicians – including David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn and Gordon Brown – have made set piece speeches on the need to stay inside the EU.

Boris Johnson was at the official launch of the Vote Leave "battlebus" this morning which will tour the country to try to win support for Brexit.

Yesterday, the latest assessment of how the UK economy will fare outside of the EU said that the UK economy could be anywhere between 1.5 and 7.8 per cent smaller by 2030 than if it stays inside the EU.

The rival Economists for Brexit group, however, argues that the economy could power ahead outside of the EU and grow faster while not constrained by EU regulation.