Former Cabinet Minister Michael Moore has published a report calling for “a new engagement” with the EU to give British businesses a stronger influence in Europe.
The former Scottish Secretary’s report, Doing business across Europe: a new engagement, was commissioned for the government by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. It makes a number of recommendations to support British businesses, improve the UK’s relationship with its largest trading partner and lead the way in reforming the EU to increase trade and competitiveness.
The report follows 9 months of discussion with business leaders and senior experts from the UK and across Europe. Businesses support the UK’s continued membership of the EU, but the report makes clear that they want to see reform inside the EU – and are calling on the UK to step up its engagement to push the EU in the right direction.
Michael Moore is the Deputy Prime Minister’s European Business Adviser.
Some of the specific recommendations in the report include:
- new Europe Business Minister, reporting to the Cabinet but supported by a team of experts in Brussels, to marshal Whitehall’s EU engagement
- a new strategy drawn together by business leaders, overseen by the new minister and reporting to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, which brings together UK industry’s priorities for reform in Europe and builds on the work of the Business Taskforce which focussed on regulatory burdens
- a renewed effort to increase the number of UK citizens working in EU institutions from current levels of just 4.6%, a third of our rightful share
Michael Moore said:
The UK has a strong track record of influence in Europe, from creating the single market to cutting the EU’s spending on wasteful subsidies. But a new kind of engagement is needed by leaders in the UK; instead of turning our backs on Europe we need to show leadership to remain in the debate in Brussels.
If we are to focus constructively on reform and the competitiveness agenda, which is so important to UK business, then we need to engage systematically in alliance building across Europe and invest in a new level commitment from leaders in Britain to make sure that we continue to have influence on the European and global stage.
Welcoming the report, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
The coalition government is committed to playing a leading role in the European Union and making sure that it creates jobs and growth in the UK.
This report makes clear that British businesses want the UK to both stay in the European Union and to lead reform to make it more competitive. Michael Moore’s report makes valuable recommendations on how the UK government, EU institutions and business can lead and promote reform to boost jobs and prosperity across Europe.
As the report recognises, the government is already making great progress through work such as Ed Davey’s Green Growth Group to set the agenda amongst our neighbours in Europe. However, businesses are looking for government to make a renewed commitment to being a proactive partner in the EU and we must match these expectations.