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Fat Cat Shell Boss Urges UK to Stay in EU

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Shell CEO urges Britain to remain in European Union

Shell CEO Ben van Buerden is the latest business leader to voice his views on a possible ‘Brexit’

By Andrew Critchlow in Vienna: 04 Jun 2015

Britain should stay in Europe, the head of the UK’s largest publicly listed company Royal Dutch Shell has said as a growing number of business leaders express concerns ahead of a referendum on the issue in 2017.

Speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference in Vienna, Ben van Buerden, chief executive of Shell said: “I don’t think it will be a good idea for Britain to exit Europe.”

The boss of the Anglo-Dutch major with headquarters in London added: “I think it will be for the benefit of Europe and the UK and certainly for businesses like ourselves with very very strong legs in one and the other to see a continued engagement between the EU and Britain.”

He said that he had not started thinking about the status of the company’s corporate presence in London should voters decided on a so-called “Brexit” solution in a promised referendum in the next two years.

His comments come a day after Bob Dudley, chief executive of BP, dismissed concerns that Britain will exit the EU. Asked by the Telegraph about the prospect of a so called ‘Brexit’, whereby Britons would decide to leave the economic bloc, Mr Dudley said: “Sitting back looking at the role of Europe and Britain I’d find it highly unlikely.” He added that it was too early to form a view on how a possible ‘Brexit’ might affect BP.

But business leaders appear divided on the issue of whether the UK should remain part of the EU. Prominent figures, including Vodafone’s chief executive, Vittorio Colao, and Andrew Mackenzie, the head of BHP Billiton, have expressed their concern over a possible exit. However, Lord Bamford – the chairman of JCB – has said that the UK would be better off if it were to sever ties with Brussels.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron is stepping up efforts to renegotiate the country’s relationship with the EU. In the weeks since the election, he has been meeting with European leaders in an attempt to redraw the terms of Britain’s EU membership. The resulting agreement will be put to voters in a straight “in/out” referendum by the end of 2017.

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