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Brexit will not turn Britain into the Singapore of Europe

May 18, 2016 4:34 PM

Brexit is not far-sighted, flexible, Singapore-style strategic diplomacy but rather a step backwards from international economic integration, writesDr David Skilling, director of Landfall Strategy Group, a Singapore-based economic research and advisory firm, in an op-ed in the Straits Times. Far from the UK becoming the Singapore of Europe, it is more likely that Brexit would convert the UK into the New Zealand of Europe: a relatively peripheral economy that has had to fight hard to develop a global portfolio of economic relationships: http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/brexit-will-not-make-britain-the-singapore-of-europe

A Brexit would weigh on other European economies and increase political risks in Europe, a report by rating organization Fitch warns. The countries most hit by a Brexit would be Ireland, Malta, Belgium, the Netherlands, Cyprus and Luxembourg, all of whose exports to the U.K. amount to more than 8 percent of GDP, reports Politico Morning Trade: A Brexit would also create a precedent for countries leaving the EU, Fitch warns, and could boost anti-EU parties. If Scotland becomes independent after a Brexit, this could also intensify secessionist pressures in other EU countries: https://dub129.mail.live.com/?tid=cmV9nI-LIc5hGUy9idZ1yJPg2&fid=flinbox

If Britain votes to leave the European Union in June, some U.S. banks could give up parts of their business in the bloc altogether, reports Reuters. The option is an extreme scenario under consideration by some Wall Street firms if the terms of an exit, currently a matter of speculation, leave financial services companies in Britain unable under their current set-ups to do business inside the EU, according to discussions Reuters had with several U.S. banks and their lawyers: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-usa-banks-idUSKCN0Y80GS

Microsoft Corp. said the U.K. should remain in the European Union, becoming one of the largest companies to come out against a June referendum to exit the bloc, reports Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-17/microsoft-says-u-k-should-avoid-brexit-and-stay-part-of-europe

Businesses aren't doing enough to inform their staff on the merits of choosing between Brexit and staying in the EU and should engage more in the debate. That's what Politico Morning Exchange (M.E.) describes as the surprising conclusion of a new poll by FTI Consulting, seen by M.E. Interestingly, says M.E., more than 70 percent of the 1,645 employees polled said they would "definitely vote to remain in the EU" if there were a threat of redundancies as a result of Brexit: https://dub129.mail.live.com/?tid=cm5T9PzMoc5hGWsAAkgYitDg2&fid=flinbox

European Council President Donald Tusk today (17 May) launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, a leading figure in the campaign to take the UK out of the EU, after the former London mayor compared the EU to Adolf Hitler, reports EurActiv: http://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/news/tusk-blasts-absurd-boris-johnson-after-brexiteers-hitler-comments/?nl_ref=13121445

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan updated ministers on the Commission's continuing efforts to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy, reports Politico Morning Agri and Food. The Commission will adopt new rules on public intervention, private storage, and on import and export licenses today. Streamlined rules on fruit and vegetables are also expected in the near future, and watch out for an announcement on simplified "greening" rules next month. Both the Parliament and Council have to give their assent to these measures: https://dub129.mail.live.com/?tid=cmraw3XbQc5hG2ygAiZMGXUg2&fid=flinbox

The [European] Commission is due to come out with proposals on how to divvy up responsibility for emission cuts in sectors not covered by the Emissions Trading System, such as agriculture, this summer, reports Politico Morning Agri and Food. Agriculture ministers discussed how they could do their part yesterday and the idea seems to be to use forests to soak up carbon: https://dub129.mail.live.com/?tid=cmraw3XbQc5hG2ygAiZMGXUg2&fid=flinbox

Commissioner for Fisheries Karmenu Vella wrote an op-ed in an Indonesian paper yesterday about the role the EU plays in fighting illegal fishing, reports Politico Morning Agri and Food. "Illegal fishing is big business, often run by organized transnational groups that specialize in various types of criminal activities," he said, crediting EU threats to block fish imports from problem countries with helping to clean up the sector: https://dub129.mail.live.com/?tid=cmraw3XbQc5hG2ygAiZMGXUg2&fid=flinbox

Refugees in Europe are likely to double the money initially invested in them over a five-year period, an NGO has claimed. Investing in refugees will create jobs, increase trade, spur economic growth, and produce other benefits, suggests a 77-page report out on Wednesday (18 May) by the Tent Foundation, an NGO that helps people who have been forcibly displaced. EUobserver reports: https://euobserver.com/migration/133452

The United States and the European Union are protesting against a UN decision to bar at least 20 non-governmental groups from taking part in a major AIDS conference next month, reports EurActiv. US Ambassador Samantha Power said the NGOs taken off the list of participants "appear to have been chosen for their involvement in LGBTI, transgender or youth advocacy."