By Marcus Leach

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, has said that the Prime Minister’s speech today was both realistic and pragmatic.

David Cameron addressed business leaders and journalists at Bloomberg's European office in central London on Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

Cameron has said that Britain has always been a European power and always will be, before outlining five principles he believed were vital to the future of the EU.

And Walker believes that Cameron was realistic in his speech, which concluded with an analysis of the UKs role in the EU.

“The Prime Minister’s approach is realistic and pragmatic. The British public, and many of our members, are sceptical about many of the institutions and practices of the EU. We need to put their doubts to rest," Walker said.

“Free movement of goods and people is enormously important for the British economy, and we need to preserve that situation. At the same time, there are serious concerns about large amounts of costly regulation being introduced through unaccountable processes.

"We will enthusiastically take part in the process of proposing powers to renegotiate and bring back to Westminster. A future referendum to decide the workings of our relationship is the best way to affirm Britain’s participation in a free-market Europe which is competitive and deregulated.

“It is far better to deal with these issues than to shy away from them. British business is resilient. It is flexible and it can cope with change — or uncertainty. The Eurozone crisis is the source of far more uncertainty than a referendum. Most IoD members export, the majority of them to the EU. It is in everyone’s interests for that trading relationship to continue — and I am sure it will.”

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