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Possible Brexit big talking point at flagship EU economic summit

brussels bureau

Possible Brexit big talking point at flagship EU economic summit

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The possibility of Britons voting to leave the European Union was a big talking point at a key summit of top EU and international policymakers in Brussels.

The Brussels Economic Forum is the flagship annual economic event of the European Commission, attracting a thousand participants every year.

Dana Reizniece Ozola, the Latvian Minister of Finance, told Euronews: “Whether Europe is ready or has a plan B in case there is a Brexit I am not sure at this time. I think there is a great hope that they are not going to do that.”

Roberto Gualtieri, Chair of the Economic and Monetary Committee of the European Parliament, said: “Of course it would be a crisis, it won’t be easy. But we will move forward in any case.

“I think the problem would be more for the UK citizens. If they are out they will have to accept the rules defined by others if they want to have access to the single market. So I think that finally rationality will prevail.”

It is the 16th year of the forum, with much of the debate focused on finding post- financial crisis solutions.

The President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, stressed that growth depends on new private investment.

“Europe is moving out of the crisis slowly, but only slowly,” he told Euronews.

“And we need to stabilise that upward trend. It should be avoided that this upward movement is stalled before it really has begun.

“And we have to analyse where is the problem. The problem is that we do not invest enough into our competitiveness.”

The Latvian finance minister explained that governments are not moving as fast as companies are.

“With one hand we are actually trying to foster the innovation, trying to boost the SMEs, coming up with great ideas,” said Dana Reizniece Ozola.

“And with the other hand when the new business models appear like Uber, like airbnb, like Netflix and others, governments actually are not ready.”

She added: “We are starting to combat them because we are not able to collect the taxes. So what to do? It’s just to know not only the dynamism of the companies themselves but also the governments and in our case the common EU structures.

“It’s of vital importance to keep up the pace of the business environment and development.”

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