In an joint appeal published in the French Journal du Dimanche, the heads of Germany's powerful BDI and BDA industry groups and the president of France's MEDEF employers' federation made the case for stronger political and economic cooperation.
“Europe must reunite, recover its confidence and go on the offensive,” wrote the presidents of the three groups, Ulrich Grillo, Ingo Krame and Pierre Gattaz.
Noting that the outcome of Thursday's referendum in Britain had plunged the bloc into “an area of turbulence”, the industry group leaders said the Franco-German motor of the European project was “more than ever indispensable… to regain its strength”.
They urged the leaders of France and Germany to “solemnly remember their commitment to European values” and boost European cooperation on foreign policy and security, especially in the fight against terrorism.
They also called for “immediate, credible and visible measures to strengthen the governance” of the euro area and said their countries should pursue “national reforms to make our economies stronger and more competitive to assure the sustainability of our social model”.
Turning to the looming Brexit negotiations, they said they hoped to “chart new ways of cooperating with Britain” but warned that it risked the loss of its cherished EU “financial passport”, which allows financial institutions in one member state to operate across the bloc without having to set up shop locally.
Were it to be deprived of this privilege, Britain's London-based financial services industry could take a big hit as firms may be swayed to move their operations to financial centres on the continent.