As voices advocating for and against the Brexit (British exit from the European Union) grow louder, some in favor of the United Kingdom staying with the EU are standing out. Recently, the US and the Bank of England have delivered blows to the idea of a UK completely independent of the EU.
United States officials have been largely silent on the issue of a British exit from the European Union, although President Obama had previously made it clear the US would prefer the UK stay in the EU. On Wednesday, that position was restated by US Trade Representative Michael Froman, who re-itnerated the financial incentive to stay. Mr. Froman told Reuters that the United States was not interested in a separate free trade deal with a lone Britain outside the EU.
The remark was a major blow for advocates for an independent UK. The economic argument for a Brexit has been popular ;its cornerstone is that the UK could negotiate its own Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with other nations, according to Reuters. Froman’s comments appear to contradict that argument.
"We have no FTA with the U.K. so they would be subject to the same tariffs – and other trade-related measures - as China, or Brazil or India," Froman said. “"I think it's absolutely clear that Britain has a greater voice at the trade table being part of the EU, being part of a larger economic entity.”
Mr. Froman’s statement was delivered a little over a week after the Bank of England delivered its own foreshadowing of economic uncertainty outside of the European Union. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, delivered a speech and an accompanying 100-page report that appeared to lean in favor of the UK staying in the European Union.
“Overall EU membership has increased the openness of the UK economy, facilitating dynamism but also creating some monetary and financial stability challenges for the Bank of England to manage,” Carney said, according to the Guardian.
Carney also encouraged politicians to ensure the “EU rules, directive, and regulations continue to support the UK’s ability to address risks to financial stability.”
Britain joined the EU in 1973. However, the country maintains its own currency and has negotiated several opt-outs from EU laws with which it disagrees. Prime Minister David Cameron is negotiating other future opt-outs.
EU membership has been a divisive issue for years in Britain, and A recent poll show a majority of the country may be in favor of giving it up. In 2015, part of the winning Conservative Party’s platform was a proposed referendum for the status of European Union membership. Relations between the UK and the EU have only gotten more complex as of late.
Earlier this week, the EU ruled that the porn filters established in the UK would be illegal under new EU net neutrality rules. The European migrant crisis is also sparking tension among the UK and other EU member states. The UK is set to allow 20,000 migrants into the country over five years. Critics of the policy point out that Munich, Germany took in over 20,000 in one weekend, according to NPR.
The UK is scheduled to hold a referendum for the fate of EU membership by the end of 2017.