Airbus sees no reason to leave if Britain quits EU
(TOULOUSE) - Airbus's chief executive said Thursday that if Britain voted to leave the European Union that would not be a reason for the European planemaker to quit the country where it employs 10,000 people.
The comments by Fabrice Bregier run counter to those by many British business leaders who have begun a campaign against their country leaving the EU as could happen in possible 2017 referendum.
With 90 percent of Airbus's market outside of Europe, competitiveness is the top priority for the planemaker, Bregier said at a company event in Toulouse on Thursday.
He said "in the UK I will look at two parameters: the exchange rate between the pound and the dollar and the second one is the UK government continuing support for the development of the aerospace industry."
Bregier said Airbus was very pleased with all the initiatives of the government of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and did not believe that would change if Britain left the EU.
"... I believe that if these two parameters are stable there would be no reason for Airbus to change our strategy in the UK..." said Bregier.
The company employs 10,000 people in Britain developing and making wings, fuel systems and landing gears for its aircraft.
We "have no intention to duplicate all this expertise," said Bregier.
Increasingly strong eurosceptics have pushed Cameron into pledging -- if returned to office next May -- to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU and then put it to an in-or-out referendum by the end of 2017.