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EU Referendum Economic Debate
   2016-05-31 07:35:34    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Zhang Peng

British Prime Minister David Cameron addresses a press conference at the end of an extraordinary two-day EU summit at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, Feb.19, 2016. [File Photo: Xinhua/Ye Pingfan]

With less than a month to go before Britain votes on its EU membership, the Remain and Leave camps are tightly united in their respective campaigns. Research shows that the economy and immigration are the two top concerns among the British public.

CRI's London Correspondent Duan Xuelian talked to figures from both sides about their views on the economic consequences of June's EU Referendum.


Leader of the Remain Campaign, British Prime Minister David Cameron, was seen rallying support in London with new Mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday. They jointly unveiled a "five point guarantee card " which promises voters that Britain will enjoy full access to the EU single market while keeping its "special status" within the EU.

City of London Corporation Policy Chairman Mark Boleat says access to the single market is one of the keys issues being discussed within the Corporation.

"There were two major concerns about Britain leaving the European Union, the first is access to the single market, the market in Europe for many goods and services are now fully integrated, there wasn't a British market or a German Market or a French market, the supply chains often can take in a number of different countries; the second point is access to talent, London is a very international center, we have people from all parts of Europe working here."

The City Corporation organized an internal vote earlier this month and the majority of its stakeholders decide that Britain should remain in the European Union. Mark Boleat says that there's a risk the city's business volume will shrink if Britain votes to leave the EU.

"And we are also concerned about how many people are employed in London as opposed to other financial centers. At the moment, for example, about 90% of all investment bank and jobs in Europe are in the United Kingdom, even if we still have the headquarters in ten years time, but we only have, say, 50% of the staff, that will be really series for Britain. "

He also emphasizes that although substantial reforms have been made inside the European Union over the last two years, there will always be space for improvement.

"So if Britain votes to remain in, it's really important that that is not the end of the process but rather the beginning and Britain needs to be far better engaged going forward, needs to be much more active in the European Union, seeking to shape the agenda in a way that benefits all of the people in Britain and indeed the rest of the European Union."

But Gerard Lyons from the Leave camp strongly disagrees on this subject. Former economic advisor to former London Mayor Boris Johnson, Lyons once described the European Union as the sinking Titanic.

He backs his argument with the example of Britain's not joining the Euro and points out that it is necessary for Britain to stay outside of the European Union to move its economic gravity towards the Asia Pacific region.

A number of international organizations including the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development have warned that the British economy will suffer from a Brexit, but Leave supporter Gerard Lyons says common opinion has been wrong in the past.

"So the consensus always has this groupthink, they think the status quo in economic terms is the best place to be, and they often overstate the transition cost of change and under estimate the benefits of repositioning yourself."



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