By Marcus Leach

A new survey of over 1,000 members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) conducted after the recent EU summit has revealed strong support amongst business leaders for both the Prime Minister’s veto and for a looser relationship with the EU.

The key findings of the survey are:

· 77% of IoD members agree with the Prime Minister’s use of the veto at the EU summit, including 46% strongly agreeing. 19% disagree, including 11% strongly disagreeing.

· 63% of IoD members would like to see the UK in a looser relationship with the EU, including 42% who would like to see a repatriation of some powers, 21% who would like to see the UK withdrawing from the EU while retaining free trade, and 1% who would like to see the UK withdrawing altogether. 29% of IoD members would like to maintain existing levels of political and economic integration. 7% would like to see deeper integration, including 6% who would like to see stronger integration and 1% who would like to see a full political and economic union.

· 85% think that the measures agreed at the EU summit will fail to solve the Eurozone crisis, compared with 3% who think that the measures will succeed.

· 53% of IoD members say that the Eurozone crisis is not having an effect on their own business, whilst 42% say it is having a negative effect.

· 77% think that David Cameron’s use of the veto has changed the UK’s relationship with the EU, compared with 18% who think that it hasn’t. Of those who think there has been a change in the UK’s relationship with the EU, 53% think it will be negative for the UK and 33% think it will be positive for the UK, while 10% think it will be neither negative nor positive. It would appear that IoD members are concerned about the consequences of the summit, but still support the Prime Minister’s decision in the light of a wider assessment of our EU relationship.

“The UK’s relationship with Europe is dominated by political and economic uncertainty but the business verdict is very clear,” Graeme Leach, Director of Policy at the IoD, said.

“Almost two-thirds of IoD members want to see a looser relationship with the EU. There are also significant groups of directors on the other side of the argument, with 29 per cent supporting the status quo and 7 per cent wanting to see more integration. The ongoing Euro crisis is changing attitudes towards the EU and we simply don’t know what 2012 will bring.”

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