UK facing a cliff edge in terms of staffing numbers in Brussels
BBA chief executive Anthony Browne said: “London is the financial capital of Europe and has the largest number of international banks in the world. Most of the laws that govern their activity emanate from the EU. They are strong supporters of the single market but sometimes this legislation can have difficult unintended consequences. So it is crucial for that international cluster that the UK has as much influence as possible in Brussels.
“When it comes to staff numbers working in Brussels, Britain massively punches below its weight, particularly in the most important parts of the Commission. The UK has less than half the staff it should for its size of population and even far smaller EU nations are better represented. This means there are fewer people with a strong understanding of UK issues in the corridors of power in Brussels, and so a greater likelihood that our national interests aren’t taken properly into account.
“The situation is bad now, but set to get much worse. Fewer than three in a hundred people passing EU entrance exams are from the UK. We are also worried that a number of senior British officials will be retiring soon, and that the UK Government is not doing enough to replace them. This cliff edge effect is real and worrying. Increasing the number of UK civil servants in Brussels will benefit politicians and businesses alike – the Government needs to up its game.”