SCOTTISH companies have an obligation to protect their employees and their shareholders by speaking out in favour of the benefits of European Union membership, according to the European Movement in Scotland, the nation’s foremost and oldest pro-European grouping.
The statement comes after Eurosceptic MP John Redwood at the Conservative conference threatened to make “life difficult” for business leaders who questioned a Eurosceptic agenda. His comments followed a report from a manufacturers group that showed 85% of its members wanted to stay in the EU.
The European Movement in Scotland says business leaders shouldn’t be cowed by threats from those seeking to keep them quiet and not question the implications of withdrawal by Scotland and Britain out of the world’s most successful pan-national grouping.
The Scottish Government states that the EU is “the main destination for Scotland’s international exports- accounting for around 46% of Scotland’s international exports in 2011, with an estimated value of around £11 billion.” The Scottish Global Connections Survey for 2012 (published in January 2014) shows that of Scotland’s top ten international export destinations, seven are EU Member States (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain) and the value of exports to those countries was worth just over £9.4 billion in 2012.
Derek Hammersley, Chairman, European Movement in Scotland said, “As someone who worked in business for more than 40 years, I know how important the European Union is to our economy and the many jobs membership supports. It would quite simply be economic madness for us to walk away from the world’s largest trading area, and those arguing for it tend to do so from ideological ivory towers rather than the real world where jobs and livelihoods matter.”