Tomorrow marks the start of the official referendum campaign period for remaining in, or leaving the EU.
In advance of this, we at Siemens, decided to release a formal statement on our EU position and shared this with our 14,000 employees here in the UK.
You can see this statement here.
We are not the first company that has done this and we took this decision because we had begun to get more questions from our employees about what will happen to Siemens in the UK, if there is a leave vote.
We have in the past been criticised by the leave campaign for expressing opinions on this topic. I however find it entirely appropriate and indeed necessary for business to continue and help inform the debate as we near the referendum. Siemens is a major employer and investor in the UK and a major part of the debate on Brexit is about the economy. As ever, we have also made clear that this is a decision for the British people and hence this and other statements we have made on the issue explains what Siemens thinks about this issue, and is not telling our employees how to vote.
One of the benefits of the EU we mention, is the benefit of the UK participating in pan-EU research initiatives, which will help to shape the industries of the future. This kind of EU collaboration was the topic of a discussion I participated in with other business leaders at Downing Street this week. I described a new EU based partnership that Siemens is developing with Airbus to develop hybrid electric propulsion systems for Aircraft of the future. I’m very hopeful that a number of UK Universities will participate in this research programme – and in that way create commercial opportunities for engineering and manufacturing companies large and small to get involved in the UK – and ultimately create jobs for that exciting future industry here. I’m very sure that if a Brexit did occur, most of these jobs will be created in continental Europe and not here.
It was great to see EU based business fully aligned at this meeting and totally committed to a better and stronger EU, and wanting Britain to remain at the very centre of that.
Picture of the business team in the Number 10 gardens is attached. The team included the CBI (who organised the event) and the equivalent business representation organisations in Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Together the representation organisations from these four EU countries alone have created and maintain £377bn worth of investment in the UK and represent 3.3 million companies.