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World Leaders Voice Their Concern About Britain and Brexit

Before Brexit vote, UK will first have to sort out its post-exit arrangement with its main trading partner – the EU.

Updated
Business
4 min read
UK Prime Minister David Cameron. (Photo: Reuters)

The prospect of Britain leaving the European Union has worried many foreign leaders and international bodies, leading to a string of warnings about a loss of British influence and a possible blow to the global economy.

Leaders of the “In” campaign have pointed to the chorus of concern to bolster their pitch to voters. The rival “Out” camp has said the sight of foreign leaders telling Britons how to vote only helps their push to get the country out of the bloc.

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

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama. (Photo: Reuters)
US President Barack Obama. (Photo: Reuters)

Obama told Britain on 22 April 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.

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump (L) and Hillary Clinton (R). (Photo: Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)
Donald Trump (L) and Hillary Clinton (R). (Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Striking a typically non-mainstream tone, Trump said on 5 May that Britain would be better off outside the EU because of high levels of migration.

I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe. A lot of that was pushed by the EU. I would say that they’re better off without it personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation – just my feeling.
Donald Trump told Fox News

On 15 May he said Britain would not be at the back of the queue for trade deals if he becomes president.

US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, however, wants Britain to stay in the EU.

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Chinese Premier Xi Jingping

 Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: AP)&nbsp;
Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: AP) 

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 Jinping visited the country last 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 Jingping, President of China
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe addressing the US Congress. (Photo: AP Screengrab)
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe addressing the US Congress. (Photo: AP Screengrab)

Shinzo Abe used his visit to London on 5 May to warn Britain that a vote to leave the EU would make Britain less attractive for Japanese investors.

Japan very clearly would prefer Britain to remain within the EU. Many Japanese companies set up their operations in the UK precisely because the UK is a gateway to the EU... A vote to leave would make the UK less attractive as a destination for Japanese investment.
Shinzo Abe
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. (Photo: AP)
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. (Photo: AP)

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said on 2 June that Germany wants Britain to stay in the EU and Britons would be better off if London can continue to wield power from within the bloc rather than from the outside.

In March, her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said 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!
Wolfgang Schaeuble, German Finance Minister
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IMF Chief Christine Lagarde

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde. (Photo: AP)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde. (Photo: AP)

International Monetary Fund chief, Christine Lagarde said on 13 May that there were no economic positives to Britain leaving the European Union and that the impact would range from “pretty bad to very, very bad”.

IMF said an exit vote would “precipitate a protracted period of heightened uncertainty, leading to financial market volatility and a hit to output.”

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

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Group of 20 Economies

Heads of states at the G20 Summit in Turkey. (Photo: AP)
Heads of states at the G20 Summit in Turkey. (Photo: AP)

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.

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Kremlin

President of France, Francois Hollande (L) with President of Russia, Vladimir Putin (R) at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Photo: AP)
President of France, Francois Hollande (L) with President of Russia, Vladimir Putin (R) at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Photo: AP)

The Kremlin said on 18 May that Putin was being dragged into Britain’s EU debate to score points.

We are used to the Russian factor being one of the regular tools used in the US electoral campaign, but for us it’s a new thing that the Russian factor or President Putin is being used in the Brexit debate.
Dmitry Peskov, Spokesperson

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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