Britain 'should embrace EMU'
Friday 18 October 1996
Britain, he said, faced a critical set of choices over the next 18 months over EMU and further European integration. "The issues are vital to business prosperity."
Mr FitzGerald said there were two kinds of Euro-sceptics - the "honest" ones, who objected to the loss of political sovereignty, and then cast about for economic arguments to justify their case; and those who deluded themselves that Britain could somehow stay out of EMU but enjoy the fruits of the unified market. Both were wrong, Mr FitzGerald said.
The business arguments for EMU and fuller integration were overwhelming, he said. The continental countries would drive ahead with EMU with or without Britain. If Britain did hold back, then it also risked finding itself ejected from the single market, with disastrous consequences.
Businessmen should take the lead in the argument, and not leave it to politicians, he said, as "we are hardly likely to get objective debate about critical issues in a tense pre-election period".
Mr FitzGerald singled out a recent study by the Institute of Economic Affairs for vilification. The study by Brian Hindley and Martin Howe concluded that "it is in practice hard to tell whether leaving the EU 'cold turkey' would make Britain better or worse off".
Mr FitzGerald said: "This remarkable conclusion defies all the experience of what has happened in the past quarter century. It is a classic piece of economists' dither - on the one hand this, on the other hand that.
"It has little to do with business reality. It is a fact that trade patterns have been transformed. It is a fact that economic integration has become very deep."
Multinational businesses such as Unilever no longer thought about national markets, but a European market, he said.
Britain would suffer if it did leave or held back from EMU, Mr FitzGerald warned: "Prices would be higher because we would lose the advantage of scale economies which the single market has made possible. Investment would suffer once the scintilla of a suspicion that Britain might not remain fully within the single market gained even a modest credibility."
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Man cooked alive with 12,000 pounds of tuna
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
Bali Nine executions live: Indonesian firing squad shoots dead eight drug offenders despite outcry around world, but a ninth is spared
Keith Harris dead: Orville the Duck ventriloquist dies aged 67 following battle with cancer
Man cooked alive with 12,000 pounds of tuna
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...
£Basic (OTE) + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Stockbroker (qualified / p...
£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...
£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...