Obama Calls on Bri­tish Peo­ple Not to Leave EU

Opin­ion polls in­di­cate that Bri­tish vot­ers are lean­ing to­wards the “In” camp

The Economic Times - - Around The World - ROBERTA RAMP­TON & SARAH YOUNG

Lon­don: US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama made an i mpas­sioned appea l on Fri­day for Bri­tain to re­main in the Euro­pean Union, say­ing mem­ber­ship had mag­ni­fied Bri­tain’s place in the world and made the bloc stronger and more out­ward look­ing.

Fear­ful that a Bri­tish exit could weaken the West, Obama ar­rived in Lon­don to ap­plaud Bri­tain’s EU mem­ber­ship which he said had helped make the world freer, richer and bet­ter able to tackle every­thing from Rus­sian ag­gres­sion to ter­ror­ism.

Prais­ing Bri­tain’s “out­sized” inf lu­ence in the world, Obama in­voked the in­ter­linked his­tory of the two coun­tries and the tens of thou­sands of Amer­i­cans lying in Euro­pean war graves as his rea­son for speak­ing as “a friend” on the June 23 ref­er­en­dum. “The Euro­pean Union doesn’t mod­er­ate Bri­tish i n f lu­ence — it mag­ni­fies it,” he wrote in an ar­ti­cle placed on page 20 of the euroscep­tic Daily Telegraph un­der the head­line “As your friend, I tell you that the EU makes Bri­tain even greater.” “The United States sees how your pow­er­ful voice in Europe en­sures that Europe takes a strong stance in the world, and keeps the EU open, out­ward look­ing, and closely linked to its al­lies on the other side of the Atlantic”. Ca mpaig ner s for Brit a i n’s EU mem­ber­ship, in­clud­ing Cameron, who is lead­ing the “In” cam­paign, will wel­come Obama’s in­ter­ven­tion, which led news broad­casts on Bri­tish tele­vi­sion. But the pres­i­dent’s com­ments drew scorn from op­po­nents of Bri­tain’s EU mem­ber­ship. New York-bor n L on­don mayor Boris John­son, who heads the “Out” cam­paign, said that he did not want to be lec­tured by Amer­i­cans about EU mem­ber­ship and that the United States would never coun­te­nance such a trans­fer of sovereignty. “For the United States to tell us in the UK that we must sur­ren­der con­trol of so much of our democ­racy — it is a breath­tak­ing ex­am­ple of the prin­ci­ple of do-as-Isay-but-not-as-I-do,” John­son wrote in the Sun news­pa­per.

“It is in­co­her­ent. It is in­con­sis­tent, and yes it is down­right hyp­o­crit­i­cal,” John­son said.

Opin­ion polls in­di­cate that Bri­tish vot­ers are lean­ing to­wards the “In” camp but many re­main un­de­cided. “In” cam­paign­ers are con­cerned that young vot­ers may not turn out to vote.

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