Sunday

23rd Feb 2020

Canada and US urge UK to stay in EU

  • Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau takes questions from journalists in the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, in 2015. (Photo: Justin Trudeau)

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has joined the camp of international leaders that urged Britain to stay in the EU.

”Britain is always going to have clout, it’s just obviously amplified by its strength as part of the EU”, Trudeau told Reuters in Ottawa on Thursday (19 May).

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Canada is part of the commonwealth of former British colonies and recognises Queen Elizabeth as its monarch.

But with the EU about to formalise a new trade pact with Canada, Trudeau indicated that old colonial ties would not give the UK any special privileges if it left the European bloc.

He warned that there was “nothing easy or automatic” about negotiating trade deals, with the freshly negotiated EU-Canada trade treaty having been 10 years in the making.

His statement echoed American president Barack Obama’s recent warning a month agothat “the UK would go to back of the queue” if it left the EU but wanted free trade with the US.

“Our focus is on negotiating with a big bloc,” Obama said, amid talks on an EU-US free trade deal.

His statement was reiterated by the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, who also fretted over the consequences of Brexit in a CNN interview published on Thursday (19 May).

"The membership of the UN will be gathering in prayer and support for the Yes vote in advance of that vote next month," the Irish-born US diplomat said.

British culture backs remain

Luminaries from the British arts world have also ranged behind Downing Street’s call to remain in the EU.

A star-studded list of 250 actors, artists, musicians and writers signed a letter saying that Britain is not just stronger, but also more imaginative and creative in the EU.

“From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without vital EU funding or by collaborating across borders", the letter said.

”Our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away."

The list included Sherlock Holmes actor Benedict Cumberbatch, spy novelist John le Carre and pop star Jarvis Cocker.

A survey by the Creative Industries Federation, which will be published on Friday, shows that 96 percent of members of the creative sector want to remain in Europe.

The Leave campaign has so far gathered actor Michael Caine, Who frontman Roger Daltry and former England cricketer Ian Botham.

Polls divided

With little more than a month to the UK referendum on EU membership, polls are divided about the possible outcome.

A TNS poll published on Tuesday said 41 percent of respondents wanted to leave, while only 38 wanted to stay.

The same week, Ipsos MORI and a YouGov surveys said the "Bremain" campaign was winning over Brexit, with 55 to 37 and 44 to 40 percent each.

British bookmakers have also cut the odds on Britain voting to remain in the EU. Ladbrokes said 90 percent of EU referendum bets had supported Britain to stay.

The bookie was surprised that people kept putting money on Britain to remain, despite the low odds of winning their money back.

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