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EU media focuses on Brexit debate

The EU’s Media continue to give coverage on the upcoming British referendum as the official ‘Brexit’ campaign has started last Friday.

Most media are still worrying over a possible British exit. For instance, France 2 reports that Europe could lose 64 million inhabitants and its 2nd economy, but the UK could lose its free access to the single market, free movement of persons could end, financial institutions and banks could move to Paris or Frankfurt and finally Europe could lose Scotland. Also, the British Treasury predicts Britain will be worse off in the event of a vote to leave the EU in the forthcoming referendum on UK membership, according to The Guardian.

The economic price for the Brexit attracts several British papers. The British economy could shrink by 6% by 2030, if the country leaves the EU, according to a report by the UK Treasury. A Guardian source who is reported to know about the document, says: “Every alternative to EU membership has significant economic costs.” UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne also warns that a Brexit will cost the UK £4,300 per household, headlines Sam Coates in The Times.

In another article, The Times reports that the Labour party said that Britain could be expected to lose 4 billion pounds a year worth of investment in housing, universities and utilities should a vote to leave the European Union be reached in the forthcoming referendum. Seema Malhotra, Labour’s chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “By walking away from the union, we would lose access to the huge level of funds [the EIB] provides, to businesses, universities, schools and local authorities in Britain, at preferential rates“.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary believes that Dublin could benefit greatly from a British withdrawal from the EU as financial services companies will look to relocate from London, reports Sunday Independent. However, Dr Edgar Morgenroth explained in the same daily that Irish companies will be the biggest victims of a British exit from the EU.

Moreover, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna considers that a Brexit will ricochet on Poland as it would result in the loss of EU protection for several hundred thousand Polish citizens currently living in the UK.

Winand von Petersdorff wonders in a commentary in FAZ how Britons can be won over to remain in the EU. Britons wish to “voice their discontent with European centralisation efforts.” Mr von Petersdorff argues that, in fact, the “current political climate” in most industrial nations is to “give political and economic elites a warning.” However, in case of a Brexit, the IMF fears “shocks to the global economy” and Barack Obama fears “a further fragmentation in Europe.” This “practical side of a Brexit” thus makes Mr Obama’s trip to the UK a “special balancing act” this week, Mr von Petersdorff believes.

In her Handelsblatt editorial, Katharina Slodczyk writes that many Britons long for facts, but are only served “opinions and assumptions,” adding that while it was hard to foretell the consequences, arguments about a Brexit reinstating British sovereignty were an “intellectual weakness.”

As several British papers, French media report that PM Cameron, who should be the leader of the “in” side, finds himself weakened by a series of political blunders. Even the Eurosceptic Corbyn has chosen a singular position. Indeed, he did not line up with Cameron but saw in the stay in the EU “a challenge to change the EU and give it a more social colour”.

Daily Telegraph reports that French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has said that the UK would cease to be a “great” country if it were to vote Leave in its EU referendum, adding how much the UK will lose by leaving the EU. Commissioner Hill warned in an interview with BBC Radio 4 that a British exit from the EU in the forthcoming referendum could lead to cuts in subsidies to British farmers.

Lord Hill underlined: “Europe is British farmers’ biggest export market, leaving would mean a system where there are more barriers and would be likely to lead to a system where there are cuts in support. At the moment the government has to make big cuts in public expenditure, it is trying to make savings from all sorts of areas so why wouldn’t you want to look extremely hard in the area of farming?”

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