DJ UK Cable: Risk of UK Exit from EU is 'Small'
Jan 25, 2013 (Dow Jones Commodities News Select via Comtex) --
By Paul Hannon
LONDON--It is "highly unlikely" that the U.K. will leave the European Union, although Prime Minister David Cameron's promise of a referendum on membership has created "unhelpful uncertainty" for businesses, Business Minister Vince Cable said Friday.
Mr. Cable is a member of the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition government alongside Mr. Cameron's Conservative Party.
Speaking to RTE during a visit to Ireland, Mr. Cable noted that the leaders of all three of the U.K.'s leading parties--including Mr. Cameron--want the U.K. to stay in the EU, and said the risk that it will leave the bloc is "small."
In a speech Wednesday, Mr. Cameron said that if he remained prime minister after the 2015 election, he would change the U.K.'s relationship with the EU and then hold a referendum on whether Britain should stay or leave.
The idea of the referendum--and years of uncertainty about whether Britain will remain in the EU--rattles some nerves in the business community.
Roger Carr, president of business group the Confederation of British Industry and chairman of U.K. utility Centrica PLC (CNA.LN), said he welcomed Mr. Cameron's constructive tone about engaging with Europe, but that it "clearly builds in a period of uncertainty and business prefers certainty" from an investment perspective.
"This whole debate surfacing at this time has created unnecessary and unhelpful uncertainty among business groups," Mr. Cable said.
However, Mr. Cable said disagreement between two parties over the EU isn't a "make or break" issue for the coalition.
"It is necessary that we work with the Conservatives to sort out this horrendous economic problem," Mr. Cable said. "Life's like that. You don't necessarily agree with everyone, don't necessarily like them, but you get on with it."
Write to Paul Hannon at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
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