Putin: Cameron hold­ing Brexit vote ‘to black­mail’Europe

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

MOSCOW—The IMF has warned Brexit could deal the Bri­tish econ­omy a “neg­a­tive and sub­stan­tial” blow as Vladimir Putin sug­gested David Cameron was try­ing to “black­mail” Europe with the EU ref­er­en­dum.

Mean­while The Times news­pa­per came out Satur­day in favour of Bri­tain stay­ing in the Euro­pean Union, five days ahead of the vote on whether the UK should stay in the bloc or leave.

The pound ral­lied as in­vestors leaned to­wards a Re­main out­come from Thurs­day’s closely-con­tested ref­er­en­dum. Cam­paign­ing re­mains sus­pended Satur­day as a mark of re­spect for mur­dered law­maker Jo Cox.

Cox, who was back­ing the Re­main cam­paign, was slain in her north­ern English con­stituency on Thurs­day. Mur­der sus­pect Thomas Mair has been charged and was to ap­pear in a Lon­don court on Satur­day.

IMF warns of con­ta­gion: With less than a week un­til the ref­er­en­dum, the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund warned that a so-called Brexit would harm the Bri­tish econ­omy while “con­ta­gion ef­fects” could hit mar­kets world­wide.

In the worst-case sce­nario, the UK econ­omy would sink into re­ces­sion next year and over­all eco­nomic out­put would be 5.6 per­cent lower than oth­er­wise fore­cast by 2019, with un­em­ploy­ment ris­ing back above six per­cent, it said Fri­day.

“While there is much un­cer­tainty about the pre­cise eco­nomic ef­fects of an exit from the EU, they are likely neg­a­tive and sub­stan­tial,” the Wash­ing­ton-based global cri­sis lender re­vealed in its an­nual Bri­tish eco­nomic checkup. “An exit would pre­cip­i­tate a pro­tracted pe­riod of height­ened un­cer­tainty that could weigh on con­fi­dence and in­vest­ment and in­crease fi­nan­cial mar­ket volatil­ity.”

In ad­di­tion, “con­ta­gion ef­fects could re­sult in spillovers to re­gional and global mar­kets, al­though the pri­mary im­pact would be felt do­mes­ti­cally”.

While in a “lim­ited im­pact” sce­nario the IMF said the econ­omy would only lose 1.4 per­cent from the cur­rent out­look by 2019, the re­port gave one of the stark­est pic­tures yet of the im­pact of Brexit.

Putin wades in Mean­while Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin sug­gested Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron had called the ref­er­en­dum to “black­mail” and “scare” Europe.

“Why has he set up this ref­er­en­dum? To black­mail Europe? Or to scare it? What is the pur­pose if he him­self is against” Bri­tain leav­ing the EU, Putin said Fri­day dur­ing a meet­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of news agen­cies, in­clud­ing AFP.

“Some ex­perts say a Brexit will be to the detri­ment of Europe. But oth­ers say that the EU will be more sta­ble,” Putin said, point­ing to the ex­am­ple of Bri­tish fish­er­men.

“They ex­plain how hard it is to live with the re­stric­tions on fish­ing. But there are ad­van­tages in other sec­tors. “If you con­sider all th­ese things, it’s very com­pli­cated” to choose, he added. The What UK Thinks av­er­age of the last six opin­ion polls puts the Re­main camp on 52 per­cent to 48 per­cent for the Leave cam­paign, ex­clud­ing un­de­cided vot­ers.

Times’ ‘prag­matic’ Re­main case The Times swung be­hind the Re­main camp on Satur­day, in op­po­si­tion to its sta­ble­mate The Sun, Bri­tain’s big­gest-sell­ing news­pa­per, which is back­ing a Leave vote.

“The best out­come of next week’s ref­er­en­dum would be a new al­liance of sovereign EU na­tions ded­i­cated to free trade and re­form, led by Bri­tain,” it said in a 2,000-word ed­i­to­rial.

The Times said vot­ing to stay was a “prag­matic rather than en­thu­si­as­tic choice”. “Brexit is un­ques­tion­ably eco­nom­i­cally riskier than a vote to re­main,” the daily said.

“On bal­ance we be­lieve Bri­tain would be bet­ter off lead­ing a re­newed drive for re­form within the EU rather than start­ing afresh out­side it.—Agen­cies said a small num­ber of Syr­ian fight­ers were killed in Thurs­day’s air strikes in south­ern Syria. The Pen­tagon has crit­i­cized the strike near alTanf, say­ing it raised con­cerns about Rus­sian in­ten­tions in Syria and promis­ing to bring up the mat­ter with Rus­sia. No Rus­sia or Rus­sian-backed Syr­ian ground forces were in the area at the time.—Agen­cies

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