• Friday, Sep 25, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:50 am

G20 warns Brexit would be global 'shock'

  • Published at 10:58 am February 27th, 2016

Finance ministers from the world's leading economies are warning of a "shock" to the global economy if the UK leaves the EU.

The ministers give their assessment in a statement released at the end of a two-day meeting of G20 nations in China.

UK Chancellor George Osborne, who is at the event, told the BBC the issue was "deadly serious".

The UK will vote on whether to leave or remain in the EU on 23 June.

UK, Chinese and American officials and the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, have been discussing key issues to the global economy during a G20 summit in Shanghai since Friday.

'Adventurous journey'

The outcome of the UK's EU referendum has been mentioned among global risks to the world economy and is set to appear in the final communique, according to a draft seen by BBC News.

BBC political correspondent Robin Brant said the draft was not expected to change.

Officials travelling with George Osborne say this prominent mention of the UK's referendum in the final communique is unusual - but Osborne has denied that he pushed for it.

The chancellor told the BBC: "The financial leaders of the world's biggest countries have given their unanimous verdict and they say that a British exit from the EU would be a shock to the world economy - and if it's a shock to the world economy imagine what it would do to Britain."

He added: "This isn't some adventurous journey into the unknown, with all the humour attached to it, this is deadly serious."

'Forceful'

Asked if he or his officials had asked for the warning to be included in the statement, the chancellor said: "We've got countries around the table like the United States of America, like the IMF, like the Chinese who frankly don't do what anyone tells them to do and they… have come to a unanimous verdict that a British exit from the EU would be a shock to the world economy."

A senior official from the Treasury told the BBC the chancellor's US counterpart raised the issue during the Shanghai meeting, as did others including senior Chinese officials and the head of the International Monetary Fund.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde was said to have been "forceful" when she mentioned it over a dinner meeting on Friday, our correspondent said.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Boris Johnson has clarified his position on the idea that a vote to leave the EU could force Brussels to give Britain a better deal and trigger a second referendum.

Johnson had previously suggested that only by voting to leave would the UK "get the change we need".

But in The Times, Johnson stated categorically: "Out is out".

Elsewhere, Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived in Northern Ireland as part of his UK tour to persuade voters that membership of a reformed EU is in their best interests.

Cameron is visiting two businesses in County Antrim.

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