Eight former U.S. Treasury Secretaries have written a letter belittling the United Kingdom as too poor and inward looking to succeed outside of the European Union (EU).
They also imply “the special relationship between the United States and Britain” could be at risk because the U.S. has “benefited from having a strong Britain within Europe”.
The threat comes just one day before President Barack Obama is due to visit Britain to make similar doomsday warnings at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron.
“A vote to leave Europe represents a risky bet on the country’s economic future,” the former ministers, who included Henry Paulson, the man who led the U.S. economy into the crash of 2008, claimed.
“Brexit could call into question London’s role as a global financial centre”, they said, because, “London has served as the financial springboard into Europe”, for multi national corporations.
The U.S. is currently trying to force a ‘Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’ (TTIP) on the EU, which would allow it’s corporations to sue the British government if laws made in our interest effected their profits.
“The interdependence and interconnectedness of nations has increased greatly and will continue…” they insist, whilst attacking Brexit for going against the current of globalisation.
“A UK turned inward and less engaged in Europe is less able to lead on the critical challenges Europe faces”, they say, despite the fact the the US is so “inward” looking it won’t even sign up to the International Criminal Court.
The Prime Minister and Chancellor were quick to get behind the letter, which almost precisely mirrors their recent line of argument.
Important letter from eight former US Treasury Secretaries: the UK economy and UK influence is stronger in Europe https://t.co/hc0jNmu93c
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) April 20, 2016
Brexit would mean "smaller, slower-growing British economy for years to come", US Treasury Secretaries say. Not a price worth paying
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) April 20, 2016
Many of the American concerns appear to be self-interested. After insisting the UK is too small to succeed alone, they then claim it is so large a Brexit might drag down the entire global economy.
“A strong Britain, inside the European Union, remains the best hope in our view for… protecting a healthy and resilient global economy”, they write.
Adding: “Thus it is no surprise that the International Monetary Fund very recently described Brexit as a critical risk to the global economy”.
Meanwhile, the former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has said that the economic costs of Britain leaving the EU have been “exaggerated”, as he accused those on both sides of the forthcoming EU referendum debate of treating it like a “public relations campaign”.
“One should be very cautious of precise, numerical estimates of what the consequences would be,” Mr King warned in an interview with Bloomberg.
He explained: “I’m old enough to remember the referendum in Britain in 1975 on exactly the same issue. The one thing that both sides of the argument then were wrong about was that it would make a dramatic difference. It didn’t.
Adding: “I think it’s very important that people should not exaggerate the impact, either of staying in or of leaving”.