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Widespread coverage of the UK’s referendum debate and consequences

The UK’s EU referendum is fast approaching and all media continue to report that the Brexit camp is now leading the polls. According to the Wall Street Journal Europe, a poll-of-polls calculated by NatCen Social Research showed the Leave camp with 51% and the Remain camp with 49%, excluding undecided voters. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged supporters on Tuesday to vote to remain in the European Union, as the latest opinion polls provided further indications that the Leave campaign is gaining momentum.

All UK media report that George Osborne will today warn that a vote to leave the EU would leave a £30bn black hole in Britain’s public finances that would have to be filled by raising income tax, alcohol and petrol duties and making massive cuts to the NHS, schools and defence budgets, British media report. All media report that stock markets across Europe fell on Tuesday as investors weighed up the consequences of next week’s EU referendum vote. Les Echos, Portfolio.hu and Huffingtonpost.it report that Daniele Nouy, the chairwoman of the European Central Bank’s Single Supervisory Mechanism, said on Monday that the SSM and the ECB have been preparing meticulously for June 23 and the potential market impact of a vote to leave the EU. “This is done bank by bank,” Ms Nouy said. “For each bank that is likely to be impacted, we have a plan” drawn up by national and eurozone supervisors.

Several media continue to raise concern about the consequences of a Brexit on the EU economy. Financial Services Commissioner Jonathan Hill stated in an interview to Politico that upon Britain’s exit from the EU, the country will see a deceleration of economic growth and the fragmentation of capital markets, reports Eesti Päevaleht. Capital.gr recalls that should the UK leave the European Union, Commissioner Jonathan Hill and the Heads of the Directorates-General will be forced to leave their positions.

A Financial Times editorial argues that the eurozone’s prosperity is vital for Britain, and a Brexit vote would be “profoundly destabilizing” to Britain’s main trading partners, and would be very costly for Britain. Writing in The Times, Jacob Rothschild argues that a Brexit would have “serious negative consequences, economically and politically, for the future prospects of this country,” pointing out that the IMF, OECD, WTO, IFS and Bank of England have all warned Britain would suffer if it left the EU, and that voters should not risk the wellbeing of the country.

On the contrary, Edmund Truell, a British financier and backer of the Conservative Party, said on Tuesday that the UK finance industry would be better off outside of the European Union, as its rules have restrained its growth, The Wall Street Journal reports. Writing in The Times, Matt Ridley argues that a vote to leave the EU is really a vote to “rejoin the world,” and would free British business from costly EU regulation. Writing in The Express, Stephen Pollard dismisses the entire Remain campaign as “Project Fear,” and argues that its warnings have been becoming more and more absurd as the campaign has progressed.

According to The Wall Street Journal Europe, UK defence secretary Michael Fallon said that a British exit from the European Union would also drive down British military spending and weaken the security of the West. In an interview with Business News Radio, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans stated that “the Brits have common sense, and I hope that their level-headedness will prevail.” Meanwhile, The Daily Mail reveals that EC President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to launch a last-minute bid to stop Britain voting to leave the EU. President Juncker yesterday held a meeting with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, fuelling speculation he could make an offer to voters, but it is unclear what he could offer as any concessions to Britain’s EU membership would carry little weight without prior agreement by all member states.

In a contributing article for Wirtschaftsblatt, René Hermann comments that regardless of the results of the referendum, the EU will have to reform its organisation. According to Les Echos, the referendum will force the euro area to strengthen its integration, whatever the outcome is. The euro will survive only if EU members are willing to “surrender part of their independence,” and move towards the “United States of Europe,” Nobel prize-winning economist Angus Deaton says in an interview with La Stampa.

In an interview with El Periódico de Catalunya, UKIP leader Nigel Farage predicts that Denmark, the Netherlands and more EU countries will follow in Britain’s footsteps if Brexit wins. Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem has said that it is not enough for Britain to just remain an EU member, but should become far more active following its membership referendum, Ft.com and Kleine Zeitung report.

El Pais and Rzeczpospolita write that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and the EU’s rotating President Mark Rutte have convened an urgent meeting after the vote on 23 June to give a response in the event of a Brexit win. Finally, several media report that The Sun printed an editorial calling on Britons to vote “Leave” in its Tuesday edition.

 

©europeanunion2016

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