President of the European aerospace and defence giant's UK operations, Paul Kahn has revealed that investment in the UK would be reconsidered in the event of Britain leaving the European Union.
Speaking to the BBC’s industry correspondent John Moylan, Kahn noted that Britain has to compete for international investment, adding that “the best way to guarantee this is by remaining part of the EU.”
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With Airbus employing upwards of 16,000 people in the UK, the president said that with a UK referendum on leaving the EU perhaps less than 18 months away, “I believe that it is vital for a company such as Airbus to come out and make a stand in favour of Britain remaining in the European Union.”
According to Airbus, around 100,000 jobs are generated in the UK by Airbus wing manufacture, both directly as well as indirectly through an “extended supply chain” of more than 400 companies.
Though he stressed that if Britain were to leave the EU, the company would not suddenly close, Kahn added: “If after an exit from the European Union, economic conditions in Britain were less favourable for business than in other parts of Europe, or beyond, would Airbus reconsider future investment in the United Kingdom? Yes, absolutely.”
He concluded by stating that he was not “blindly supporting Britain’s membership of the EU,” and that he welcomed the Government’s “intentions to deliver positive and hoped-for reforms – which would create a leaner and more efficient EU.”