Statements by business leaders on the summit outcome (24/06/07)

Niall FitzGerald

Niall FitzGerald (Chairman, Reuters)
The modern world is characterized by international cooperation and pooling sovereignty on issues of mutual concern. If we want to address issues such as trade promotion, aid from the developed world to Africa and regulation of carbon emissions, the EU is an important vehicle to do this. Therefore adopting institutional changes such as a permanent Presidency and double majority voting will make the EU stronger and more accountable.

Sir Michael Bishop (Chairman, BMI British Midland)
Like the airline industry, the face of Europe is changing quickly. We need a Europe that is capable of acting at high-speed. As Europe competes with the likes of China and India , the EU needs to be able to take decisions quickly and implement them consistently over the long term. That is why the amending Treaty is important to business and important for Europe ‘s future.

Roger Carr (Chairman, Centrica)
In the area of energy and environment policy, the EU has a crucial and urgent agenda facing it. From liberalizing national energy markets and combating protectionism to addressing the climate change challenge, the EU is a key player. The amending Treaty could help boost the EU’s efforts in these areas.

Lord John Kerr (Deputy Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell plc)
The EU matters for business; and business wants the EU to work better. Only Eurosceptics, who want it to stay inefficient, could want to keep rotating Council Chairmanship (“Buggin’s turn”), and the old voting system (the new one would increase UK voting power by over 40%). British business backs reform.

Stuart Popham (Senior Partner, Clifford Chance)
An amending Treaty can set the framework for the EU to pursue its results-driven agenda over the coming years. It is in the UK’s and Europe’s interests to resolve the institutional dimension and to reach an agreement in the coming months, so that the Commission can continue on the path of economic reform, and the UK can exert influence on debates about the future direction of the EU, such as on enlargement and the Union’s budget.

Sir Mike Rake (Chairman, KPMG International)
The old Constitutional Treaty cannot be brought back. Its defeat in the referendums in France and the Netherlands signalled its demise. But Europe must move on from here, and seek to reach agreement on a new amending Treaty which enhances its efficiency and effectiveness.

Sir Martin Sorrell (CEO, WPP)
An amending Treaty would ensure the EU functions more effectively and reform its institutions. If the EU is to strengthen the single market and take action on energy liberalization, it will be more effective with reformed and updated institutions.

Peter Sutherland (Chairman, BP)
Whenever a new EU Treaty is proposed, there is lots of scaremongering about its effect. But the ramifications of previous Treaties like the Single European Act were far more profound than the proposals contained in the abandoned Constitutional Treaty. As ever with debates on Europe , we need calm and perspective to reach a sensible new amending Treaty. The fact is that reactions here to the minor changes apparently now being considered are often exaggerated and wildly inaccurate. This is demonstrated not least by the fact that it appears that virtually every other Member State finds them inoffensive and it is not the UK alone that has an interest in its sovereignty.

Rosemary Thorne (Non-Executive Director of both Cadbury Schweppes and Abbey National)
Europe is a major centre for business, trade and global investment. In order to maintain its economic success, we support an agreement that reflects the interests of business. That is why the Charter of Fundamental Rights should be excluded from the substance of a new Treaty. There are already widespread protections on social and employment legislation in national law, and the Charter would do little to help and would possibly hinder Europe’s economic competitiveness.

Philippe Varin (CEO, Corus)
Instead of seeing the negotiations over a new EU Treaty as a threat, we should see them as a great opportunity to shape the direction in which the Europe is going. The EU is a great success story and many other continents admire it and wish to emulate it. There are many in the UK business community who understand the need for a sensible, reforming Treaty.

For more information, see Business for New Europe

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