German experts weigh in: British exit would have major effect on EU

A decision by Britain to exit the European Union would have a major effect on the entire continent's economy, German business and financial experts have told dpa.

"Thirteen per cent of Europe's citizens reside in Britain, and Britain accounts for 17 per cent of the bloc's economic power," said Achim Wambach, head of the Mannheim-based Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW).

Not only would there be huge consequences for Britain if its citizens decide in a referendum on June 23 that it should leave the EU, but the bloc would feel the after-effects of the decision too, he added.

The Mannheim-based ZEW is an economic research institute that maintains a closely watched indicator measuring the mood among institutional investors and financial analysts across Europe.

The finance director of the German automotive manufacturing company Continental echoed Wambach's sentiments. "We would welcome Britain's continued membership within the EU, since an exit from the bloc would weaken the entire European Union in addition to Britain, in our opinion," Wolfgang Schaefer told the dpa in Hanover.

He added that Continental was unlikely to feel any direct effects from a potential exit, saying Britain accounted for less than 3 per cent of the company's group sales, and that it expected to continue doing business within the country regardless of the vote outcome.

Last update: Sat, 03/09/2016 - 01:26

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