Global finance chiefs agreed that Britons should not vote to leave the European Union next month as they warned that Brexit may have negative economic consequences.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a briefing at the conclusion of the Group of Seven finance ministers’ meeting in Sendai, northern Japan, on Saturday that all G-7 members agreed on the consequences of Brexit, and shared the hope that Britain would vote to remain in the bloc on June 23.
“We were all of the opinion that it would be the wrong decision for the U.K.,” Schaeuble said. “But it’s a decision to be taken by the British voters. We’re concerned that it could have negative consequences for the European and the world economy.”
The Japanese presidency of the group released a summary of the meeting, which said the “shock of a potential U.K. exit from the European Union” would complicate the global economic environment.
With only a month to go before the referendum, the G-7’s caution will provide further ammunition for U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who is one of the main strategists behind Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign to keep Britain in the bloc.
The G-7 view follows warnings from the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The issue has split the ruling Conservative Party — and the British cabinet — down the middle.
As the Treasury prepares to publish a report on the short-term consequences of Brexit in coming days, Osborne told the BBC in Sendai on Friday that an exit would provoke “an immediate economic shock.”
His comments coincided with a Treasury report claiming house prices could drop up to 18 percent after leaving the EU, an analysis which was immediately contested by Vote Leave, the official campaign group for Brexit.