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As the seventh term of the European Parliament comes to an end ahead of elections on 22 May, the SNP has highlighted that only a vote for the SNP and a Yes vote in September will prevent another five years of disappointment and let downs from Westminster on European issues.
While the SNP Government and the SNP team of MEPs has worked hard to stand up for Scotland and fight for Scotland’s interests, the anti-EU agenda that has dominated recent years at Westminster has seen Scotland’s needs play second fiddle to political posturing from the Westminster parties.
Anti-EU posturing from Westminster has caused widespread alarm from business leaders over the damage that a referendum to leave the EU would cause. In recent months, a number of businesses have spoken out – with even Business Secretary Vince Cable and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg voicing their concerns.
A Yes vote in September will protect Scotland’s place in Europe and enable Scotland to negotiate directly with the rest of the EU to protect the interests of people in Scotland, instead of the current situation that sees Scotland undermined by Westminster’s indifference to Scotland’s needs.
Commenting, SNP MEP and Party President Ian Hudghton said:
“As the European Parliamentary term draws to a close ahead of elections, it is clear that Scotland has been badly let down in Europe by Westminster.
“On issue after issue the SNP in Government and in the European Parliament has worked hard to secure the best deal for Scotland – only for Westminster to undermine our efforts time after time.
“Whether it is on foodbanks or farming, fisheries or funding, Scotland has been badly let down by Westminster politicians who would rather posture on Europe than fight Scotland’s corner.
“Enough is enough and it’s long past time for Scotland to speak with our own strong voice in Europe – something that a vote for the SNP on 22 May and a Yes vote on 18 September will secure.
“A strong team of SNP MEPs and a Yes vote for an independent Scotland is the only way to guarantee that Scotland can make its mark in Europe.”
Business warnings on the damage leaving the EU would cause
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10682322/Vince-Cable-Ukip-supporters-couldpush-Scotland-out-of-the-UK.html
He accused UKIP and members of the Conservative Party to leave the EU pushing for Britain to leave the EU and “putting at risk the union of the UK.”
“You are also putting at risk the union of the UK. How on Earth do you expect to persuade the Scots to ignore the siren voices of nationalism and separatism when you indulge in British nationalism and Euroseparatism?”
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/18/british-exit-eu-scare-foreign-investors-vincecable
When asked by the Observer whether foreign companies had raised concerns about the UK Government’s proposed in/out referendum, he said:
"The answer is yes. What I say [to businesses] as a government minister is that the risks of us leaving the EU are very, very low … and I just try to reassure foreign investors".
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/vince-cable-eureferendum-holding-back-uk-economic-recovery-1434070
"The prospect of a referendum and possible exit from the EU is deeply unsettling for businesses trading in the European single market, from the car industry to financial services."
Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/23/nick-cleggtories-eu-exit-damage-uk
"To trade successfully in the modern world, Britain must stay in. As an EU member, we have access to trade agreements with more than 50 countries around the world – and we've launched negotiations with the US. The commission has confirmed if the UK left the EU, we'd lose access to EU trade agreements with third parties and potentially have to negotiate them all from scratch, and negotiate from a much weaker position.”
John Cridland, Director General, CBI, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/18/british-exiteu-scare-foreign-investors-vince-cable
"A large majority of CBI businesses of all sizes are clear: the UK is best served inside a reformed EU, rather than outside with no influence”.
Neil Rami, Chief Executive, Marketing Birmingham, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/18/british-exit-eu-scare-foreign-investors-vincecable
"It is making them nervous and reticent. One of the reasons why businesses like Jaguar, Land Rover and Deutsche Bank have chosen to invest and grow in Birmingham is because it offers them quick and direct access to important European markets.
"By pledging a referendum and putting EU membership in the balance, we lose a major string to our bow and potential investors will look elsewhere."
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman and Former CEO, Nestlé Group, http://news.sky.com/story/1200243/nestlechair-warns-over-uk-exit-from-europe
“From a purely economic point of view, I can't see that the withdrawal of the UK [from the EU] would be favourable for any UK industries.”
“It would isolate the UK economically. Every company would be forced to re-evaluate the implications of investing in the UK. It would no doubt have an impact on its ability to supply European markets."
Jim Cowles, Chief Executive, Citi- Europe, Middle East and Africa, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/eu-referendum-citipledges-that-brexit-will-damage-uk-economy-1433270
"It is not that international companies will stop investing in Britain, but their investment just will not be at the scale we have become accustomed to."
Paul Polman, Chief Executive, Unilever, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/eu-referendum-citi-pledges-thatbrexit-will-damage-uk-economy-1433270
"We are very concerned about the overall competitiveness of Europe vis-a-vis the rest of the world."
Steve Odell, Chief Executive, Ford- Europe http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/15/us-britain-fordidUSBREA0E0KD20140115
"I would strongly advise against leaving the EU for business purposes, and for employment purposes in the UK.”
Statement from Toyota, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9bbcd386-7f89-11e3-b6a7-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2rn0UYFYV
“The UK’s membership of the EU has always been an important consideration for Toyota, from our original decision to invest here and indeed to this day.”
“Like a lot of international investors in this country, open access to the European Single Market has been and remains crucial to our business success.”
Ben van Beurden, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotlandpolitics-26461833
"That's the chief reason we're in favour of the UK maintaining its long-established place at the heart of the European Union: it provides greater investment stability and certainty. “But, as a global business with feet planted firmly on both sides of the Channel, we also believe that the UK's national interests are best served by a close relationship with Europe.
"The continent faces medium-term challenges - not least relating to its economic competitiveness. But we believe those challenges are best tackled - to the benefit of all - with the UK's voice loudly expressed and loudly heard inside the EU.”
Nigel Stein, Chief Executive, GKN http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/10676335/UK-talking-itself-into-EU-exit-says-GKN-boss-Nigel-Stein.html
“The prospect of the UK talking itself into an exit from the EU would be deeply harmful to our industries, where we are part of a European footprint, not a country in isolation.”