EU referendum and Brexit: Key quotes from non-UK figures

Superhero cardboard cut-outs of the G7 leaders at the group's summit in Ise, Japan, in May 2016. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Did the G7 sweep in to intervene in the Brexit debate at their recent summit?

Key quotes from high-profile European and other figures on Britain's EU referendum between 24 May and 1 June, as compiled by BBC Monitoring.


G7 leaders

"A UK exit from the EU would reverse the trend towards greater global trade and investment, and the jobs they create, and is a further serious risk to growth." (declaration of the 2016 G7 summit in Ishe-Shima, 27 May, Japan, via Reuters)

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

"Growth has slowed, and is projected to be 1.75% in 2016. Uncertainty about the outcome of the end-June 2016 referendum has undermined growth. This projection assumes that the United Kingdom remains in the European Union, in which case growth is projected to pick up in the second half of 2016 and then stabilise in 2017."

"The outcome of the referendum is a major risk for the economy. A vote for Brexit would heighten uncertainty, raise the cost of finance and hamper investment." (Twice-yearly UK economic outlook, 1 June)

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A group of business leaders headed by the head of German chemical giant BASF, Kurt Bock, made a plea for the UK to stay in the EU in a letter published in German tabloid Bild.

European Round Table of Industrialists

"While we respect the decision of the citizens of the United Kingdom, but a Europe without the United Kingdom would be weaker, just as the United Kingdom would be weaker outside the EU." (Open letter signed by the heads of several major European companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, BMW and ThyssenKrupp, 31 May, published in Bild)


Image copyright AFP
Image caption EU Council President Donald Tusk has blamed the rise of Euroscepticism on "utopian" dreams of a united Europe

European Council President Donald Tusk

"It is us who today are responsible for confronting reality with all kinds of utopias -- a utopia of Europe without nation states, a utopia of Europe without conflicting interests and ambitions, a utopia of Europe imposing its own values on the external world. Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that ordinary people, the citizens of Europe, do not share our Euro-enthusiasm. Disillusioned with the great visions of the future, they demand that we cope with the present reality better than we have been doing until now... Euroscepticism has become an alternative to those illusions." (speech to fellow conservatives from EU countries, 30 May, via Reuters)


Image copyright AFP
Image caption Germany's foreign minister has refused to speculate about post-Brexit scenarios

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

"I think there are good reasons for Britain to remain in the EU. I am only sure that if Britain decides to leave, that will initiate a negative dynamic in the rest of the EU."

"The decision really lies in Britain. We can't have any influence on that and we shouldn't have any influence with fantasy proposals about the future of the European Union and 'what would happen if', and in particular 'what would happen if Britain leaves'. Those are all speculative discussions that could possibly have an undesirable influence on preparations for the British referendum." (speaking to the foreign press association in Berlin, 31 May, via Reuters)

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Elmar Brok, a party colleague of Chancellor Angela Merkel, has linked Brexit to the "old dreams of empire" in the UK

Elmar Brok, European Parliament foreign affairs committee chairman

"There will be no new negotiations about another opt-out deal. The old dreams of the empire and the Commonwealth is not a dream for the future, it is a dream of the past." (Interview with Bloomberg, 31 May)


Image copyright AP
Image caption Francois Hollande (r) condemned those who cast the EU as "the source of evil" during a join commemoration at Verdun with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (l)

President Francois Hollande

"We are side-by-side here to face the challenges of today, and above all the future of Europe, because as we know, disappointment has been followed by rancour, and doubt by suspicion, and for some rejection or even separation. The forces of division, of shutting yourself off, of withdrawal are at work again. They cultivate fear and instil hate. They denounce Europe as the source of evil, without realising that Europe was created out of the ravages of evil." (Closing speech at ceremony commemorating the 100th-year-anniversary of the Battle of Verdun, 30 May, via French business paper Capital)

"It is not for us to say what the British people should be doing. Economically, it would be bad news, bad news for the United Kingdom, as well as the world, not just Europe. That would trigger capital transfers as well as the relocation of some activities that would not be for the benefit of the United Kingdom or even of Europe." (speaking to reporters at the 2016 G7 summit in Ise-Shima, Japan, 27 May, via Reuters)

French Socialist MEP Pervenche Beres

"The United Kingdom will be even more odious in Brussels if it stays in Europe." (speaking to the EU-funded news portal, 30 May)


Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

"Brexit would be a defeat for Europe, but it would be a disaster for the United Kingdom. I trust in the wisdom of the British, they will not be so masochistic as to cut off their future." (Interview with L'Avvenire, 28 May)

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Italy's foreign minister says leadership is the answer to the anti-EU and anti-establishment mood

Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni

"I hope that Remain will win, and all the reasonable economic and political analyses are reaching the conclusion that a victory for Leave would be a bad decision for the EU and a disastrous one for the United Kingdom. But we must remember that reasonable analyses are in danger of being insufficient unless they are accompanied by courageous leadership. It is not enough in Europe today just to be right, you also need the strength and the courage to represent an anti-establishment thrust." (Interview with La Stampa, 26 May)


Prime Minister Mark Rutte

"I think it would be very bad news, for the UK, for the Netherlands, for Europe as a whole. It would be unavoidable for us, and I think for many of us in Europe, to follow the same proposals, to implement a points system also in the rest of the European Union. So you would get a race to the bottom. And that's exactly what you don't want. (speaking to the BBC on the Leave camp's proposal for a points-based system for EU migrants, 1 June)

"I am very worried about it." (speaking to EU leaders as EU president, according to a report by De Telegraaf, 25 May)

Image copyright AFP
Image caption King Willem-Alexander told the European Parliament that the EU would be weaker without the "English rose"

King Willem-Alexander

"Everyone's input is essential. The European bouquet is not complete without the Spanish carnation, the French fleur-de-lys, the Dutch and the Hungarian tulip. And not without the English rose." (speech to the European Parliament, 25 May)


Image copyright EPA
Image caption Speaker Laszlo Kovacs says Hungary fears losing an ally for EU reform

Laszlo Kover, Hungarian parliament speaker

"It is in Hungary's interests for the United Kingdom to continue to be a member of the European Union. The Hungarian government, like British politicians, believes the EU is in need of fundamental reform. However, if one of the member states that is keenest on these reforms leaves, then obviously the position of those who would like to take the EU in the right direction is weakened compared with those whose efforts are ever more explicitly aimed at creating an increasingly centralised, bureaucratic and federal system." (speaking in London on 26 May at an event commemorating the murder of Thomas Becket, via the news website Orient Press, 26 May)


Ewald Nowotny, Austria central bank governor

"For the British, an exit is economically worse than for the rest of Europe. The City of London will lose its status, and many other advantages that are currently taken for granted will have to be renegotiated. I hope that economic sense will ultimately prevail. I see no problem for the financial system because the Brexit scenario has been discussed in the market for some time. Should it actually happen then for whom would this still be a surprise?" (Interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 24 May)

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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