AN OPEN letter penned by Europe’s top industrialists and signed by the CEO’s of Spain’s premier companies has urged British voters to stay in the European Union.
Inditex, owners of high street monolith Zara, utilities giant Iberdola, the massive Telefonica, and banking behemoth Santander made up the Spanish contingent of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), which emphasised the economic prosperity brought by the union.
The forum of 50 key industrial and technology companies argues that the EU represents the world’s biggest economy, and warns that British trade with key members, including Germany and Ireland, would be severely impacted by a British departure.
“This could be one of the biggest opportunities for prosperity in Europe: we need to act in unison to progress,” reads the letter, which also accepts that Europe “can and should improve”.
The combined turnover of the 50 companies that make up the ERT exceeds €2 trillion a year, and their intervention continues a long standing trend of international financial institutions sounding warning bells over the referendum.
The Paris based economic thinktank the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) claimed on June 1 that a British exit poses as great a threat to the world economy as a so-called ‘hard landing’ in China.
A pessimistic report lamented the slow pace of global recovery and its continued vulnerability to major shocks, arguing “A vote for Brexit would heighten uncertainty, raise the cost of finance, and hamper investment.”
Chief economist at the OECD, Catherine Mann, suggested that because the global economy was experiencing low growth, the impact of Brexit could easily spillover to other countries, particularly Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland, leading to a domino effect with unpredictable consequences.
A Chinese hard landing, whereby the economy slows down dramatically, and Brexit are two of three ‘Black Swans’ identified by French bank Societie General as potentially disastrous for the world economy, with it foreseeing political and economic instability as a dark omen for the rise of Europe’s extreme right.