European business groups unite to lobby May on Brexit deal

9 November 2017, 11:20

The CBI and its counterparts from Europe's largest economies will next week urge Theresa May to fight for an immediate Brexit transition deal in the latest wave of lobbying from the continent's top business groups.

Sky News has learnt that the leading employers' organisations from France, Germany and Italy, as well as BusinessEurope, an umbrella body, will meet the Prime Minister on Monday to press her for clarity for companies across Europe on the terms of the UK's EU exit.

It will be the first such meeting involving a broad coalition of Europe's top business groups, and is designed to reinforce the growing sense of urgency about reciprocal access to British and EU markets after March 2019.

Next Monday's meeting will come a week after Mrs May addressed the CBI's annual conference, in which she tried to strike a more conciliatory tone on Brexit.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI director-general, said in response to the PM's speech: "The Prime Minister reaffirmed the Government's full commitment to the Florence speech and a status quo transition.

"This is essential for firms across the country, providing much needed stability and avoiding a catastrophic cliff-edge scenario.

"All in the Government must embrace this: the road to a Florence Deal must be swift and have no deviations.

"Every opportunity must be taken to reduce uncertainty for the sake of jobs and the economy."

Last month, the CBI was among a handful of British business groups which wrote to David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, to deliver a similar message.

The CBI declined to comment on Thursday.