Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Branson's EU Pickle

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Branson's EU Pickle

Article excerpt

Britain "could be an island completely adrift in 20 years". This stark warning comes from Richard Branson, whose New Year message on his blog suggests that the silent majority of UK business opinion is rousing itself over what, until now, has been a politicos' debate about Britain's place in Europe. As Branson points out, the world will need its regional blocs to do its business. And, as he pointed out in his interview with me in the New Statesman in July, the European Union is an asset for Britain, not a hindrance.

The UK has never lost a vote on financial-market regulation in the EU. We pay about Li per person per week for membership and we don't just get access to the world's largest single market; we can shape its rules and get the benefits of EU clout on global trade (trade agreements with 46 other countries).

The tragedy of government rhetoric over the past two years is that it has demonised the status quo in Europe without advancing an alternative. …

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