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Might Britain Really Leave the European Union?

15 Jun
London under construction

Construction cranes for new building in central London give clue to that city’s role in the world economy, a matter of grave concern to the financial world as Britain votes on June 23d on a referendum to leave or stay in the European Europe. (Photo by Rowntree)

Next week on Thursday, June 23d the British will vote in a referendum on whether the country will leave the European Union (EU), a process referred to as “Brexit”. Regardless of the outcome the ramifications are huge for Britain and Europe. Though the arguments for and against leaving the EU get rather complex they basically come down to the proponents arguing Britain will have more control over its borders and finances by leaving the EU while those against the referendum say Britain will suffer dire economic consequences from leaving the world’s largest trading bloc. While the British government itself is against leaving the EU, there is enough public support for Brexit that right now, seven days before the vote, pollsters say it’s too close to call. Want more info? Here are links to recent Brexit articles in the New York Times, along with the lead paragraphs of those articles.

Brexit Plan for the Financial World? Cross Your Fingers“. NY Times, June 15, 2016

By PETER S. GOODMAN Among those who manage gobs of money, the possibility that Britain might actually disavow the European Union seemed until recently like a remote and even outlandish possibility. But about a week before voters go to the polls to determine their future, masters of finance are suddenly absorbing the prospect that Britain might really walk, unleashing anxiety and uncertainty throughout the global economy. Like local responders readying sandbags as a hurricane menaces their shores, financial industry overseers have been quietly drawing up contingency plans while surveying the expensive havoc a so-called Brexit is already wreaking. Central bankers from London to Washington have been monitoring the tempest while making preparations to unleash credit should markets seize with fear.

• “Brexit Vote Has European Workers in Britain Unsure of Future” New York Times. June 13, 2016

LONDON — Filipe Graca hovered over an espresso machine at the British food chain Pret A Manger and frothed out a cafe latte for a waiting customer. Until last year, he had struggled to find any kind of a job in his native Portugal. But when he arrived in London, he was able to work almost right away. So were the young women from Hungary, France and Albania who cheerfully tended the cash registers. And the staff from Poland, Spain and Italy cleaning tables and preparing sandwiches for the lunch crowd. Only one thing seemed to bother them: the prospect that Britain might actually leave the European Union.

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