Obama urges Britain not to leave EU
London, April 22: US President Barack Obama called on the British people on Friday to support their country’s continued stay in the EU in the referendum scheduled for June 23. In an article published on Friday in the Daily Telegraph, Obama, who arrived in London on Thursday on a three-day visit, stressed that Britain being part of the EU increases the country’s prestige in the world, Efe news reported.
Obama’s opinion on the EU debate is a boost to the campaign of British Prime Minister David Cameron in favour of the country staying in the EU, but has been criticised by supporters of Brexit, led by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who believe that Obama should not intervene in Britain’s affairs.
Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said Obama should stay home. “A monstrous interference,” Farage told Fox News on Thursday. “I’d rather he stayed in Washington, frankly, if that’s what he’s going to do.”
“You wouldn’t expect British prime minister to intervene in your presidential election, you wouldn’t expect Cameron to endorse one candidate or another. Perhaps he’s another one of those people who doesn’t understand what [the EU] is,” Farage said.
London Mayor Boris Johnson — born in New York — has expressed strong support for the UK-US relationship, but he has accused Obama of hypocrisy.
“I just think it’s paradoxical that the US, which wouldn’t dream of allowing the slightest infringement of its own sovereignty, should be lecturing other countries about the need to enmesh themselves ever deeper in a federal superstate,” Johnson said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Cameron, however, has said that the advice of allies was welcome, and that “listening to what our friends say in the world is not a bad idea.”
“I struggle to find the leader of any friendly country that thinks we should leave,” he said on Wednesday. Obama highlights the special relationship between his country and Britain. He said they “should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices — democracy, the rule of law, open markets — across the continent and to its periphery”. “The EU doesn’t moderate British influence — it magnifies it. A strong Europe is not a threat to Britain’s global leadership; it enhances Britain’s global leadership,” Obama said. (IANS)