EU Referendum

European media warn of impact of Brexit

A Union Jack flag flutters next to European Union flags ahead of a visit from Britain"s Prime Minister David Cameron at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 16, 2016. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A final deal on the UK's renegotiation is expected to be agreed when EU leaders gather on Thursday

As David Cameron continues his push to secure European leaders' backing for his EU reform demands, the media in several European countries look fearfully on the prospect of a possible Brexit.

Several French papers focused on the UK PM's talks with French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Monday evening, in the final run-up to the European summit due to take place in Brussels at the end of this week.

A headline in L'Express refers to the "final marathon negotiations". The paper says that despite official statements claiming that draft proposals for reforming Britain's EU membership provide a "firm basis" for a deal this week, the Cameron-Hollande talks had done little to tone down the differences between London and Paris.

Le Monde also says "major differences" between London and Paris persist.

Fear of "contagion"

A gloomy opinion piece in Le Monde by Guillaume Klossa, the founder of a pro-EU think-tank, is headlined "Brexit: Neither a yes vote nor a no vote will save the EU from a major crisis".

Mr Klossa predicts that if British voters decide to leave the EU, other Eurosceptic countries within the bloc will be tempted to organise similar referendums, which will put at risk "the very survival of the European project" and could "plunge Europe into the worst chaos in its history since the end of the second world war".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Cameron met French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Monday

In Germany, the news website Focus also says Mr Cameron failed to achieve a breakthrough in his talks with Mr Hollande.

Headlines in other German media focus on fears of the potential negative effect of a Brexit on trade and industry within the EU.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that a "majority of business owners fear Brexit", while Der Spiegel notes that "industry warns against Brexit"

In an article headlined "Domino principle? Europe fears Brexit contagion", the Hungarian paper Magyar Nemzet picks up on British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond's recent remark that the UK's departure from the EU could trigger a wave of similar exits.

The Polish paper Gazeta Wyborcza takes a relatively sanguine view of the prospect of a Brexit. In an article headlined "Will the world come to an end?", the paper concludes: "If Britons vote to end their relations with the EU, the sky will not fall down and the oceans will not flood our lands. Well, at least we hope that the world will not end."

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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