- · New survey: Business support for EU membership remains rock solid
Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today published a new survey which found that Brexit has failed to dint business’ support for Ireland’s EU membership. The survey was published in advance of the group launching its priorities for the Future of Europe at an event in Ibec’s head office, on Thursday, 19 April, with Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee. The Ibec paper says Ireland's economic fortunes demand an outward-looking EU that is focused on ongoing positive reform, but it said tax and labour market policies must remain a matter for individual member states.
“The EU remains a model of global success. Now is not the time for any dramatic change in direction. We need more cooperation in areas where there is a clear collective benefit. This includes completing the single market, digitalisation and global trade. However, in areas such as taxation, labour market and social policy, individual governments are best-placed to tailor policy to domestic needs," said Ibec CEO Danny McCoy.
The Ibec survey of 249 companies based across all regions and sectors found that:
- · Respondents were very positive about membership of the EU for the Irish economy in general. Over nine out of ten (96%) respondents stated that membership has been important (84% - very important, 12% - important). Respondents were also very positive on the importance of future membership of the EU for the Irish economy in general, with 94% indicating that EU membership will be important in the next five to 10 years (80% - very important, 14% - important).
- · Respondents were very positive about membership of the EU for their business, with almost nine out of ten (89%) respondents stating that membership of the EU has been important (58% - very important, 31% - important). Respondents also saw the importance of EU membership for the future. Some nine out of ten (90%) respondents believed that membership of the EU will be important for their business in the next five to ten years (65% - very important, 25% - important).
In advance of the launch, Mr McCoy set out Ibec’s Future of Europe priorities:
Unleash potential of the Single Market: “While the EU has created vast new opportunities for business, there’s much more to do. By completing the digital single market, the capital markets union and banking union for example, the EU could create massive new economic opportunities, advance growth and raise the living standards of citizens across Europe.”
Lead the world in trade and investment: “The EU should continue to advance ambitious, balanced trade deals with key partners. This should include a comprehensive and ambitious future trading relationship with the UK, as well as deeper trading and investment partnerships with the US, Canada and Japan. New trade deals should facilitate cross-border data flows and unlock the potential of EU business in a digitalised world.”
Embrace competitive taxation policy: “We need dynamic, competitive markets across the EU to ensure companies, economies and member states can harness innovation and attract investment. Member states must have the power to choose tax strategies that best meet their economic needs.”
Respect member state competency to design labour market and social policy: “The EU must focus on areas where it can have real added value to societies. By keeping labour and social market policies at a member state level, national governments and policy makers can best consider local labour market realities, demographics and citizen’s needs.”