World

Here’s What the World Is Saying About Brexit

British voters will decide on June 23 if the country should stay in the EU or not.

A car sticker with a logo encouraging people to leave the EU is seen on a car, in Wales, February 27, 2016. Credit: Reuters

A car sticker with a logo encouraging people to leave the EU is seen on a car, in Wales, February 27, 2016. Credit: Reuters

London: It will be up to British voters on June 23 to decide whether the country stays in the European Union (EU), but international bodies and foreign leaders have joined the debate, mostly to urge the country not to the leave the bloc.

Below is a summary of comments ranging from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to China’s premier.

US President Barack Obama

Obama told Britain on April 22 that it would go to “the back of the queue” for trade talks with Washington if it left the EU. He combined the blunt warning with praise for Britain‘s influence within the 28-nation bloc, something Washington considered important to its own interests.

US Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton also wants Britain to stay in the EU.

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

The Republican front-runner for the White House said on March 24 that Britons would probably decide to leave the EU because of concerns about high levels of migration. “With the craziness that is going on with the migration, with people pouring in all over the place, I think that Britain will end up separating from the EU,” he said.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble

Schaeuble said on March 3 that it would be extremely difficult or even impossible for Britain to negotiate a “special deal” on trade with the EU if it left the bloc. “Imagine the negotiations that would have to take place after a Brexit decision. For the years to come all this bureaucratic stuff. Good luck!” he said.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron

Macron said on April 15 that Britain would need to continue to pay into the EU budget if it wished to continue with tariff-free access to the bloc’s single market after a Brexit. “Those who pretend that passporting will be preserved exactly following the same rules without any contribution to the budget, are making a big, a big mistake,” Macron added.

IMF

The global economy watchdog made an unusual incursion into a national political issue on April 12 when it said a Brexit could “do severe regional and global damage by disrupting established trading relationships.”

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD said Britons would face a “Brexit tax” if they left the EU, equivalent to a month’s salary by 2020, given the likely hit to the economy. Its secretary general urged Britons to think carefully about how they would fare outside the 28-country bloc. “Britain, look at yourself in the mirror, naked. Do you like what you see? Mostly I hope you come out saying: not too much,” Angel Gurria said.

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping

China, which is sensitive to comments from abroad and usually does not talk about other countries’ domestic affairs, issued a veiled call on Britain to stay in the EU when its leader Xi visited the country in October. “China hopes to see a prosperous Europe and a united EU, and hopes Britain, as an important member of the EU, can play an even more positive and constructive role in promoting the deepening development of China-EU ties,” Xi said.

Group of 20 economies

Finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 of the world‘s leading economies put Brexit on their list of dangers to the world economy when they met in February. G20 officials said Brexit was added on the insistence of Britain.

Silent so far

Supporters of Britain remaining in the EU have said that a decision to split the bloc would be welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a weakening of the West. So far, Putin has not commented on the Brexit debate.

“Russia is being dragged into the domestic debate on Brexit,” the Russian embassy in London said in a statement in March. “Why is the wicked Russia thesis used to explain a government policy?”

In Brussels, European Commission economists have been banned from researching the impact ofBritain leaving the bloc, or even talking about it publicly, for fear of getting embroiled in the debate, officials have said.

(Reuters)