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'Please stay', French businesses implore Britain

AFP  |  Paris 

France's biggest businesses, from Airbus to Michelin, have implored their "amis britanniques" to stay in the European Union in a cross-Channel love letter published in several British dailies.

"S'il vous plait, amis britanniques remain!" (Please stay, British friends). We love you, but we are in business not just in love," read the letter published in The Sun, The Telegraph and The Times.

"Our companies invest in the UK and employ thousands all over England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in every walk of life. We invest because you are a leader in Europe's single market and we all trade freely within the EU," it continued.

The letter, signed by 34 of France's top businesses, said that this investment depended on the UK being "firmly and lastingly anchored within the single market."

"Britain is Great. But to remain attractive to businesses you need the ingredients of that greatness: market access and open trade."

The letter comes two days before Britain's referendum on breaking with the European Union. If the so-called Brexit takes place, Britain would lose its free trade access to the bloc.

Polls suggest the race is tight and could go either way.

"For you, for us, for all of us: please don't leave," concluded the letter.

Other companies signing the letter were Air France-KLM, telecommunications giants Orange and Bouygues, banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, pharmaceutical company Pierre Fabre and food manufacturer Danone.

Insurance company Axa, electricity provider Engie, aviation manufacturer Dassault and the defence and aerospace multinational Thales were also on the list.

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First Published: Tue, June 21 2016. 17:42 IST