City of London,

EU - Mark Boleat's response


Policy Chairman Mark Boleat answers a question from Deputy Oliver Lodge in the Court of Common Council on the issue of EU reform.  

“Does the Chairman agree that, with a referendum on our relationship with the EU now certain, the City Corporation should give the highest priority to discussions with City business and government to help to shape relevant EU reform?”

[Question from Oliver Lodge, Common Councilman for Bread Street].

My Lord Mayor.

I thank the Honourable Member for giving me notice of his question.

My short answer is yes, I agree.

The City of London Corporation has a long established role as a representative of the City ‘financial’, and we are no stranger to engagement with our stakeholders in City businesses, representative bodies such as TheCityUK and central government.

Now that it is clear that there will be a negotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU followed by an In/Out referendum we need to strengthen our work and in so doing ensure that our contribution to the debate is both as informed as possible, and one that is in line with what will be a debate of national significance.

We will do this through established means, including the commissioning of independent research by our Economic Development Office to first establish the facts; and the pursuit of a programme of political engagement drawn up by our Public Relations Office to ensure those facts are communicated to right people at the right time.

We will also work in conjunction with TheCityUK, the promotional body for the financial services industry generally – this is only natural given our shared interest in promoting the City.

TheCityUK will shortly be publishing detailed proposals for reform, drawn up after extensive consultation with City businesses and approved by TheCityUK Board earlier this week. In the medium term, we the City will also be looking to increase the resources we bring to bear in our Brussels Office to ensure the City Corporation is playing as big a role as it can.

Our approach to Britain’s relationship with Europe has not changed since I last addressed the Court a year ago, nor since my most recent statement in March this year – and it has not changed since the General Election earlier this month.

The overwhelming view of City businesses is that the UK is better off as a member of the European Union, and that it can best secure the country’s interests by being fully engaged in EU policy making as a member of the EU.

As I noted a year ago, the Policy and Resources Committee set out these principles for our engagement on EU issues -

  • To promote London to policy makers as Europe’s financial and business centre;
  • To explain the role of financial and professional services in supporting the wider UK economy;
  • To strengthen and complete the Single Market;
  • That Europe needs to reform to be more competitive in the global economy;
  • And that the UK needs to be fully engaged in EU policy making.

There is a strong view that business needs to make its voice heard at a much earlier stage in the public debate than was the case of the Scottish referendum, and members will have noted the comments of the CBI President on this earlier this week. We will consider through the committee system in the usual way the role that the City should play in this debate.

Many other organisations, such as TheCityUK and the CBI, will be part of that debate, and we will ensure that we coordinate and liaise with them as much as is possible.

My Lord Mayor.