Should British voters choose to exit the European Union in next month’s referendum vote, it could have disastrous effects on the global economy, G-7 leaders said Friday during a summit in Japan.
"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," the group of world leaders said in a final declaration following the two-day event.
The issue wasn’t on the formal agenda for the event, but British officials said they thought it would be a topic of conversation among the leaders of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain, who make up the Group of Seven countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed that sentiment after the meeting.
"This summit is sending the signal that all of us hope that Great Britain remains a member of the European Union," she said. "But of course the decision has to be made by the British voters," she added.
The declaration highlights the concerns of international leaders who have condemned Britain’s potential exit from the 28-country alliance and the ramifications they say it would have on world markets.
In an op-ed published last month to coincide with his diplomatic trip to Britain, U.S. President Barack Obama urged British citizens to stay in the union, arguing that “The European Union 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,” he wrote.
Supporters of the so-called Brexit movement were quick to condemn what they see as Obama’s meddling in British affairs. Then-London mayor Boris Johnson penned a response to the Obama op-ed calling the president a hypocrite and saying the United States would never agree to join a group like the EU.
"It is incoherent. It is inconsistent, and yes it is downright hypocritical," he wrote. "The Americans would never contemplate anything like the EU, for themselves or for their neighbors in their own hemisphere. Why should they think it right for us?"
The most recent opinion polls indicates the “out” camp holds a slim one-point lead over the “in” camp, with 45 percent supporting Britain’s exit while 44 percent want to stay in the union.