East of England IoD: Eurozone crisis ‘changing bosses’ views on EU’

THE continuing eurozone debt crisis is changing the attitudes of UK business leaders towards the European Union, according to the regional head of the Institute of Directors.

A new survey of more than 1,000 IoD members, conducted after the recent EU summit, shows strong support for both the Prime Minister’s veto and a looser relationship with the EU.

More than three-quarters (77%) of IoD members agreed with the use of the veto, including nearly half (46%) who strongly agreed. However, one in five (19%) disagreed, including 11% strongly disagreeing.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of IoD members would like to see the UK in a looser relationship with the EU, including 42% who said they would like to see a repatriation of some powers, 21% who would like to see the UK withdrawing from the EU while retaining free trade, and 1% who said they would like to see the UK withdrawing altogether.

However, nearly one-third (29%) of IoD members would like to maintain existing levels of political and economic integration and 7% would like deeper integration, including 1% who would like to see a full political and economic union.

An overwhelming 85% think that the measures agreed at the EU summit will fail to solve the eurozone crisis, against just 3% who believe they will succeed.

Chris Parkhouse, IoD chairman in the East of England, said: “The UK’s relationship with Europe is dominated by political and economic uncertainty but the business verdict is very clear. Almost two-thirds of IoD members want to see a looser relationship with the EU.

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“There are also significant groups of directors on the other side of the argument, with 29% supporting the status quo and 7% wanting to see more integration.

“The ongoing euro crisis is changing attitudes towards the EU and we simply don’t know what 2012 will bring.”