David Cameron

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has called on David Cameron to use this week’s EU summit to outline Britain’s plans to reform the European Union ahead of the referendum.

Businesses have made clear they support the prime minister’s attempts to reform the European Union and to make the bloc more competitive. With a survey from Open Europe Berlin this week also highlighting that many of his proposals enjoy support across Europe, this EU Summit is an opportune moment for the prime minister to set out how and why Europe needs to change, the IoD said.

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “Businesses share the Prime Minister’s aim for a more competitive Europe. They want to trade in the single market under rules that are enforced, and help, rather than hinder, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Europe needs to focus more on growth, competition and trade, and let national parliaments have a bigger say over their own employment laws and regulations.

“The Prime Minister is not alone in his desire for reform. Research by Open Europe this week showed that a majority of German voters support plans to return powers to national parliaments, a ‘red card’ to block European laws, and a conditional welfare system for EU migrants. Businesses, politicians and the general public across Europe are ready to listen to the prime minister’s plans — he should use this EU summit to start talking.

“With the EU referendum due before the end of 2017, it is important that opportunities like this are seized. While half of all IoD members have yet to decide how they will vote in the referendum, the politicking and mud-slinging between the In and Out campaigns has already started. Businesses are concerned that the consensus for reform could be lost in the heat of campaign rhetoric. The Prime Minister should make clear his objectives to create the competitive Europe so many across the continent are crying out for.”

The IoD’s priorities for European reform can be found in our report, The UK’s relationship with the European Union, which analyses the results of a survey of more than 1,200 IoD members.