Friday, 1 February 2013

France to roll out the red carpet for UK business

In June 2012 David Cameron said that Britain would roll out the red carpet for wealthy French nationals wanting to leave France due to Fran├žois Holllande’s implementation of the 75% tax rate for those earning over one million euros per annum.  Fast forward to January 2013 and Laurent Fabius, the French Foreign Secretary is now offering to roll out the red carpet for UK businesses if the UK votes to leave the European Union.

Business’s in the UK have raised concerns about Cameron’s plans, which culminated over two weeks to a letter being published in the Financial Times from Virgin’s Richard Branson, London Stock Exchange head Chris Gibson-Smith and eight other business leaders that warned against Cameron’s plans to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership.

Responding to growing calls from backbench Tories as well as the general public to hold a referendum Cameron has finally said that this will take place in 2017, if a Conservative government wins the next general election.  The British public will get an ‘in or out’ question after Cameron attempts to renegotiate some powers back from Brussels to seemingly gain more sovereignty.  It is unclear whether Cameron would be able to pick and choose which aspects of the European Union he wanted to remain a part of and it would be difficult for him to get a majority of European leaders to agree to his demands.

Barack Obama’s administration has said that they are concerned over Cameron’s plans to renegotiate the UK’s position within the European Union, with a senior official saying the US valued a “strong British voice” in Europe.

Cameron’s announcement last week could put business in jeopardy, as investors uncertain of the UK’s future in Europe may choose not to invest precious resources in the UK.  It could leave the UK vulnerable and isolated, without gaining the UKIP votes expected or satisfying the Eurosceptics within the Conservative party.  It would also leave us without representation in the European Parliament and little say in future legislation behind developed.

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