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Airbus warns about UK exit from EU

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 02:04

The head of Airbus in the UK has said the aerospace and defence giant would reconsider future investment in the country if it were it to leave the European Union. As Ciara Lee reports it's the latest warning from businessess ahead of a referendum on membership.

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Europe's aerospace giant is the latest big name to weigh into the debate over Britain's future in Europe. Airbus employs 16,000 people in the UK and has warned of "huge" economic risks if the country votes to leave the EU in a referendum to be held by 2017. Paul Kahn is president of Airbus Group UK. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL KAHN, PRESIDENT OF AIRBUS GROUP UK, SAYING: "We look for a stable competitive economic environment to operate in, and we are a successful integrated European company. So we work with France, Germany, and Spain in particular and we want to work as efficiently as possible across those borders. So anything which disrupts that is a concern to us." Airbus is the world's second-largest planemaker after Boeing. It makes wings for all its passenger jets at a 2 billion-pound factory in north Wales. And designs and test wings and landing gear in Bristol. The company makes 6 billion pounds a year in the UK. The warning comes as Britain's largest business lobby group is urging bosses to defend Britain's membership. Darren Sinden from Admiral Markets isn't convinced by all the concerns. (SOUNDBITE) (English) "Airbus trades all around the world. It's not constrained to just dealing within the EU. In fact the majority of customers are probably outside of Europe. So these businesses are international. There will be plenty of people stepping up on both sides of the in or out debate. I suspect it's not terribly helpful unless you've got a massive core of people on one side or the other." Joining Airbus against a Brexit are Vodafone and BT. Currently no referendum date has been set, and that too is an issue. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL KAHN, PRESIDENT OF AIRBUS GROUP UK, SAYING: "Business never likes uncertainty and I would share that view. What I would say is we are continuing with our investment. We announced 100 million pounds of investment at the end of last year and we are continuing with that. That's not going to be disrupted." Airbus says there is no threat to current jobs in the UK. But a UK vote to quit the EU would make Airbus question its long-term investments in the country.

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Airbus warns about UK exit from EU

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 02:04