The central issue of where political power should reside should be decided by the public in the privacy of the voting booth, not by corporate interests
Even more radically, you should really care about your overall, international position: if you sell all over the world, and trade with China and India becomes freer, you may be able to put up with some slight restrictions in Europe.
Yet the two elements – free trade and global economic integration on the one hand, and European political integration on the other – are endlessly conflated by the more vocal pro-EU firms and business organisations. That is unhelpful for the overall cause of business and capitalism: it is legitimate for US investment banks and UK and European multinationals to lobby for their own interests, and it is legitimate for them to have a view on economic, trade, tax, regulatory, commercial and other related matters. They quite rightly want the best possible business environment in which to operate; they may also have views on the education system, for example, and other related areas. They should definitely share these with the rest of us.
The economic case – as opposed to the political, geopolitical or cultural case – for the EU is only about trade and economic integration. It is not about defence co-operation, or the Common Agricultural Policy, or policies that deal with refugees, sport or culture. The central issue of where political power should reside has no direct bearing on the economics: it should be decided by the public in the privacy of the voting booth, not by corporate interests.
Morgan Stanley or Bank of America, both of which have just put out pro-EU membership reports, need to rethink their approach: rather than taking sides so explicitly in a domestic political debate, they should focus on explaining the importance of passporting to their business, while reminding their readers that all European Economic Area (EEA) countries (not just the EU) are able to sell financial products freely across Europe under this scheme.
It would also be fair for them to worry publicly about what may happen if the City is subject to EU rules but can no longer influence them at all (and Eurosceptics must address this point more forcibly).
For the record, I agree with the pro-EU camp that turning our back on globalisation would be a disaster. But I disagree with them that the European Union, as currently constituted, is the best way of harnessing globalisation in an increasingly diverse world.