CBI president Sir Roger Carr waded into the row over the UK's involvement in Europe today by warning of the risks to British industry of "isolation." Opening the CBI's annual conference in London, Sir Roger said:
Whatever the popular appeal may be of withdrawal, businessmen and politicians must keep a bridge firmly in place. As countries of Europe bind together in pursuit of salvation, we in the UK must work harder to avoid the risks of isolation.
Sir Roger said Europe was the "bedrock" of the UK's international trade, and should be viewed as the "launchpad" for expanding global trade, and "not a landmass from which the country retreats."
If we are to avoid an exit vote in any referendum, it is essential that the voice of British business is loud and clear in extolling the virtues of future engagement, not as a reluctant participant, but as the lynchpin of our wider global trade ambitions.
Politicians must engage, corners must be fought, battles must be won, but the cold business logic of partnership for self-interest must be argued and prevail.