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World leaders agree: Brexit would be bad for Britain

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 20.05.2016

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the latest in a long line of world leaders urging British voters to stay in Europe. “Britain is always going to have clout, it’s just obviously amplified by its strength as part of the EU,” he told Reuters. “We have a great relationship with a strong and united Europe, and we hope that continues.”

The leaders of the world’s five largest economies – including, of course, David Cameron and Angela Merkel – have all come out against a Brexit:

“If one of our best friends is in an organisation that enhances their influence and enhances their power and enhances their economy, then I want them to stay in it.”

          US President Barack Obama

“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.”

          Chinese President Xi Jinping

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    “Japan attaches importance to our relationship with the UK as a gateway to the European Union. Japan very clearly would prefer Britain to remain within the EU. It is better for the world that Britain remain in a strong EU.”

              Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

    “We are convinced that from the German perspective, Great Britain remaining in the European Union is desirable.”

             German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    Other leaders have poured cold water on the idea that we should leave the EU and work more closely with the Anglosphere in security matters – the “Five Eyes” security arrangement – and in trade.

    “If the British people, in their wisdom, decide to stay in the European Union, then we would welcome that. Britain’s involvement does provide us – and Australian firms particularly, many of whom are based in the UK – considerable access to that market. From our point of view, it is an unalloyed plus for Britain to remain in the EU.”

              Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

    “We see Europe as an extremely important continent that needs strong leadership. We think Britain provides that leadership… If we had the equivalent of Europe on our doorstep, New Zealand as a country would be looking to join that, we certainly wouldn’t be looking to leave it.”

              New Zealand Prime Minister John Key

    But surely the Indian government wants a Brexit? After all, Vote Leave has talked up the difficulties Indian families face obtaining visas, the need for a trade deal with India and the lack of visas for curry chefs. But Delhi, too, wants us to stay in the EU.

    “As far as India is concerned, if there is an entry point for us to the European Union that is the UK, that is Great Britain”

            Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

    There are, of course, some figures backing a Brexit, including Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump and French Front National leader Marine le Pen. The Russian embassy is on the record saying “our Government doesn’t have an opinion on Britain’s place in the EU”. But others are clear that anything that weakens the EU would go down well in Moscow. Garry Kasparov has commented that a Brexit would be a “perfect gift” for Vladimir Putin, while Guy Verhofstadt thinks the Russian president will be “rubbing his hands with glee” at the prospect of a British departure.

    It is British voters, not the rest of the world, who will decide whether the UK stays in the EU. Still, we would be unwise to ignore the views of some of our closest allies.

    Edited by Alan Wheatley