German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said the European Union would be “less stable” if Britain voted to leave in a referendum on 23 June.
Addressing a conference organised by the British Chambers of Commerce in London, Mr Schaeuble said: “I think the UK would take the risk that continental Europe would be less stable, more volatile.”
Speaking at the same event, British Finance Minister George Osborne said it would be a mistake for Britain to leave the EU at a time of geopolitical instability and risks posed by developments in Russia, the Middle East and North Africa.
Mr Schaeuble said Britain was a force for improving the competitiveness of the bloc, adding that he did not want to lose an ally in the fight to reduce unnecessary rules and regulations.
When asked what Germany would do if Britain voted to leave the EU, he said “we would cry”, prompting laughter and applause from the audience.
French statements seen by some as way of shoring up British PM’s pro-EU position
French president François Hollande has warned Britain about the “consequences” of a vote to leave the European Union.
“I don’t want to scare you,” Mr Hollande said at a joint press conference with British prime minister David Cameron in Amiens. “I just want to say the truth. There will be consequences if the UK leaves the EU, on the single market, in financial trade, in economic development between our two countries. It doesn’t mean that everything will be destroyed … but there will be consequences, especially in terms of immigration.”
If Britain votes to leave the EU, French economy minister Emmanuel Macrontold the Financial Times earlier, France will no longer stop migrants at Calais. Mr Macron said Paris would limit British access to the single market and try to lure bankers from London.
Mr Cameron and Mr Hollande met in Amiens to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Although they were 155km from Calais, the refugee crisis in the Channel port town dominated the France-Britain summit.
Proponents of Brexit have portrayed French statements as a way to shore up Mr Cameron.
“When it comes to terrorism, when it comes to security, when it comes to our borders, we are better off, we are stronger, inside a reformed EU,” Mr Cameron told a press conference. He then alluded to Mr Macron, saying: “When you have ministers in other governments warning about a potential consequence that might happen, that would be injurious to the UK, I would say listen to those things.”
Asked about the €22 million in extra British expenditure for Calais this year, Mr Cameron said: “It is very important for people to know that if they come to Calais, that it is not a waiting room for getting into the UK.”
The summit took place as French labourers demolished shelters in the part of the Calais migrant camp known as the Jungle for a fourth day.
“I applaud the action the French government is taking to deal with the situation with the camps in Calais and to say to people that they should be seeking asylum in France and if they are not asylum seekers they should be returned to the countries from which they came,” Mr Cameron said.
There has been tension over Britain’s reluctance to accept unaccompanied minors who have relatives in Britain, as provided in article 8 of the June 2013 Dublin III rules.
The France Terre d’Asile association has identified 326 minors in the Calais Jungle, including 57 aged under 15.
“We have been clear with the British prime minister,” Mr Hollande said. “When these youths have a family tie with the UK, they must be able to go there quickly and in an efficient way.”
Mr Cameron seemed to stonewall, saying: “In terms of unaccompanied children … if someone has direct family in Britain and if they apply for asylum in France under the Dublin convention, they can then come and rejoin their direct family in Britain.”
A statement on migration by the two leaders announced “joint action of unprecedented proportions”. Britain contributed €82 million to securing the port and Channel Tunnel in 2015, it said. The additional €22 million this year will be used to support French security forces, move migrants from the camps to elsewhere in France and send migrants to countries of origin.
Rolls-Royce bosses have warned British staff that the business could be harmed by exit from the European Union.
In a letter to employees, chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos said there was no guarantee the UK would be granted free trade with the EU if it voted to leave.
Versions of the message, leaked to the Guardian, have been circulated to around 8,000 workers at the firm and other subsidiaries of the BMW Group.
While stressing the final decision would be for the British people in the looming referendum, Mr Muller-Otvos wrote: “Free trade is important for international business. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars exports motor cars throughout the EU and imports a significant number of parts through the region.
"For BMW Group, more than half of MINIs built and virtually all the engines and components made in the UK are exported to the EU, with over 150,000 new cars and many hundreds of thousands of parts imported from Europe each year.
"Tariff barriers would mean higher costs and higher prices and we cannot assume that the UK would be granted free trade with Europe from outside the EU.
"Our employment base could also be affected, with skilled men and women from most EU countries included in the 30 nationalities currently represented at the home of Rolls-Royce here at Goodwood.”
EU Council president has urged migrants not to come to Europe
The Calais “jungle” refugee camp could be relocated to Britain if the UK chooses to leave the European Union, according to France’s economy minister.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Emmanuel Macron warned that Brexit would threaten the bilateral relationship between the UK and France.
He said the Le Touquet Agreement - which allows British authorities to conduct border checks on the French side of the Channel, thereby keeping illegal migrants out - could be scrapped if the UK decides leaves the EU.
“The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais and the financial passport would work less well,” Mr Macron said.
The newspaper also reported that Mr Macron believes many financial services workers will leave London for France once their institutions lose the “passport” rights to work across the EU.
The comments come ahead of an Anglo-French summit in Amiens today attended by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.
The two leaders are expected to announce €1.94bn of investment in a joint project to build the next generation of unmanned military drones.
They will also discuss how the two countries can work together to fight terrorism in Europe.
“Scaremongering over immigration”
Mr Macron’s comments echo sentiments expressed by Downing Street last month, when it claimed the Calais camp could move to England’s south overnight if Britain leaves the EU.
Eurosceptics accused Number 10 of “scaremongering over immigration” at the time.
Demolition teams and riot officers moved into the Calais camp this week to clear migrants, refugees and activists from the site during an attempt to reduce its size.
Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, who is part of the Vote Leave campaign, said Mr Macron’s remarks contradicted recent comments from French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, and accused him of speaking at Downing Street’s behest.
Mr Jenkin told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “What we are having now is propaganda being produced by other European governments at the request of the Prime Minister to try to scare people (out of) voting Leave”.
“It is obviously the safer thing for the UK to take back control over our borders, over our laws, over the money we send to the EU because then we can control our relations with our European partners”.
EU Council President Donald Tusk, meanwhile, urged migrants not to come to Europe telling them: “Do not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing”.’
Ireland is Britain’s seventh biggest trading partner
Almost half of Irish business people believe that a British exit from the European Union would have a negative impact on their business, according to a survey by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
The findings were announced at a special briefing held this morning by Dublin Chamber and Eversheds which explored the potential implications of a Brexit for Ireland.
Dublin Chamber asked 281 businesses how they felt a Brexit would affect their operations, with just under one in two firms predicting that it would have either a negative (37 per cent) or very negative (10 per cent) impact.
One in 20 respondents said they thought a British exit would have positive or very positive consequences for their business. The remaining 48 per cent of those polled anticipated a neutral impact.
The survey, carried out in the second week of February, included a mix of companies who both do (70 per cent) and do not (30 per cent) currently carry out business in Britain.
Interestingly, of those companies who said they don’t do business in Britain, around one third said they would expect a Brexit to have a negative or very negative impact on their business.
Just five per cent of companies with no direct exposure to Britain anticipated a positive impact. Three out of five (62 per cent) predicted no change for their company.
According to Gina Quin, CEO, Dublin Chamber: “Although difficult to quantify what the full macro-economic effects of a Brexit would be, this survey shows that Irish businesses are concerned about the potential impacts. The British market is particularly important for Irish exporters and trade between Ireland and Britain has soared over the past 20 years. Both markets are very reliant on one another: one sixth of Ireland’s exports, worth around €600m per week, go to Britain, while Ireland was the Britain’s seventh biggest trading partner in 2015.”
Gina Quin added: “A British exit from the EU would obviously have negative knock-on effects for Ireland, given the close economic ties between the two states. Finance ministers from the world’s leading economies have warned of a “shock” to the global economy if Britain leaves the EU. Ireland is likely to feel the waves of any such shock given the amount of trade our companies do with Britain.”
Migrant camp known as the ‘jungle’ could move to Dover if Britain leaves EU, economy minister warns
France warned Britain on Thursday morning it would end border controls and let thousands of migrants move on to Britain if voters backed leaving theEuropean Union.
It also said it would open its arms to British-based banks wanting to flee an non-EU Britain and stay in the bloc.
French economy minister Emmanuel Macron echoed comments by British prime minister David Cameron that a migrant camp known as the “Jungle” in the northern French coastal town of Calais could move to southern England in the event of a British EU exit.
Speaking ahead of a Anglo-French security summit in Amiens, Mr Macron said a British exit would scupper a border deal that halts migrants in France, but that Paris would be happy to accept bankers fleeing London.
“The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais,” Mr Macron told the Financial Times newspaper, adding that rules allowing British-based banks to operate across the EU would be lost.
“Collective energy would be spent on unwinding existing links, not re-creating new ones,” he said, a comment aimed at the view of British eurosceptics that a new deal could be made.
Mr Macron’s comments, which support Mr Cameron’s argument that an EU exit after the June 23th referendum could undermine security, led television news reports in Britain, where opinion polls indicate immigration is the biggest concern for voters.
Opponents of membership said the comment was part of a campaign to scare British voters into supporting membership.
In a move that underscored big company concern over the impact of a possible British exit, Germany’s BMW wrote to British employees who make its luxury Rolls-Royce car about the risks of a Brexit, as leaving is known.
“As a wholly-owned BMW Group company, it is important for all Rolls-Royce Motor Cars employees to understand the view of our parent company,” BMW said in the letter. “We believe it’s much better to be sat at the table when regulations are set and have a hand in their creation, rather than simply having to accept them.”
Opponents of EU membership, including Cameron’s main Conservative party rival, London Mayor Boris Johnson, said the British people were being fed scare stories in an attempt to garner support for the EU.
“Let’s believe in ourselves again, rather than clutching the skirts of Brussels, ” wrote Mr Johnson. “Let us lift our eyes to the horizon and take a once in a lifetime opportunity. Ignore the scaremongers, we are bigger, better and greater than they pretend.”
Ukip leader Nigel Farage has told TTG he believes domestic tourism would be “fantastic” if the UK exited the European Union – even if it was at the expense of outbound holidays.
Farage, who is a passionate advocate of the UK leaving the eurozone, acknowledged that the pound could fall in the wake of a “leave” vote, but insisted that the travel industry should be thinking instead about the benefits of domestic tourism.
“Sterling may fall a bit but it’s falling already,” he told TTG. “So holidays might become a little more expensive – tourism in the UK would be fantastic – it works both ways.”
His comments came as Caroline Bremner, head of travel at Euromonitor, warned that a Brexit could have far more damaging consequences for the UK travel industry – both inbound and outbound – with a potential 15% decline in inbound visitor numbers.
“A devalued currency makes the UK more attractive to potential visitors. However, the UK’s travel and tourism industry has a negative balance of trade, where outbound travel far outweighs inbound, so the positive impact would be limited,” she said.
Euromonitor also highlighted that with 34 million inbound visitors forecast to arrive in Britain in 2016 – 64% of whom are expected to come from Europe – “clearly, imposing restrictions on travel and introducing visas and additional border controls would have a major impact on inbound tourism.”
15% decline in volume
“Coupled with the impact of recession and the uncertainty of at least two to seven years while the UK renegotiates its borders, trade relations, tariffs and duties with the rest of Europe, this could lead to a worst-case scenario of over 15% decline in volume,” it added.
The warning came as TTG quizzed Farage about other downsides a Brexit could have on the travel industry. This includes concerns that the UK could continue to adopt EU regulations – such as the Package Travel Directive – but be excluded from any discussions and consultations.
Consultant Andy Cooper, who was a former director of government and external affairs at Thomas Cook, said the UK could look to emulate Norway’s model in this way.
“Other countries that are out of the EU still have Brussels regulations because they normally choose to adopt them,” he said. “We could end up still being bound by EU legislation, but with no input as to what goes into it. It would be the worst of both worlds.”
Farage however dismissed the suggestion as “scaremongering”.
“Norway is an example of an outright lie by the establishment,” he insisted. “They adhered to just 9% of EU laws between 2000 and 2015 so that just doesn’t ring true.”
It comes amid mounting pressure from both the “in” and “out” camps, as divisions widen in the mainstream political parties. Last week the pound fell to a seven-year low following the announcement of a referendum on June 23, although sterling began to recover this week – albeit modestly.