Leading UK business group says benefits of remaining in EU outweigh costs

LONDON – Britain’s main business group concluded Monday that the benefits of staying in the European Union outweigh the costs, though reforms are urgently needed for that to remain in the national interest.

The Confederation of British Industry released research showing EU membership was worth between 62 billion pounds and 78 billion pounds ($99 billion to $124 billion) annually — about 4 per cent to 5 per cent of the country’s GDP. But the business group warned about mission creep in the 28-nation bloc, particularly in the areas of health and safety and welfare legislation.

“There is a growing unease about the creeping extension of EU authority,” CBI Director-General John Cridland said. “Europe has to become more open, competitive and outward-looking if we are to grow and create opportunities and jobs for all our citizens.”

Still the organization concluded that Britain is better off in a reformed EU than “outside with no influence.” The group said membership is worth 3,000 pounds annually to every household in this country.

Cridland says the EU must modernize and secure trade deals with the United States, Japan and others.