Britain outside the EU ‘would lose prosperity’, according to the chief executive officers of Santander and Sabadell banks, construction firm Ferrovial, telecommunications giant Telefónica, electricity corporation Iberdrola, and clothing empire Inditex, which includes the popular budget high-street chain Zara among its brands.
They were among the top 50 companies in Europe who signed the letter, and all of them together make up the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT).
Avoiding dire predictions of economic disaster for the UK if it pulls out of the union – those which the ‘out’ campaigners dismiss as ‘scaremongering’ – the letter plays on the positive aspects of Britain remaining within the EU.
This new approach mirrors that taken by the UK government during the Scottish independence referendum, titled Better together.
The letter stresses that now is ‘the biggest opportunity’ for ‘prosperity’ ion Europe, but warns that the only way the 28 member States can all progress is by ‘acting in unison’.
About 6.8 million EU citizens have jobs within the 50 firms, whose collective turnover exceeds €2 trillion per annum.
The EU ‘can and should’ improve, according to the missive, but urges the UK not to forget about the strengths of the union, such as ease of access to foreign markets, competitiveness and Brussels’ strategies in place for pushing exports.
According to the ERT, the European Union is the largest global economy and outstrips China and the USA, holding 16% of the market in foreign trade which 36 million jobs on the continent rely upon.
The letter labours the importance of protecting these 36 million jobs and points out that objective views from market and economic experts say the ease of global trade would not be available any longer to the UK post-Brexit.
In fact, the ERT says Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland and France – four of the UK’s largest trading partners – would be badly affected by Britain pulling out of the union.