World Economy

Lagarde Urges UK to Stay in EU

Lagarde Urges UK to Stay in EULagarde Urges UK to Stay in EU

The head of the International Monetary Fund has made an impassioned plea for the UK to vote to stay in the EU, arguing that membership of the bloc has made the economy stronger and the country more diverse and creative.

Christine Lagarde used a speech in Vienna to warn of a worrying rise in economic nationalism that threatened the union and urged policymakers to do more to reduce the inequality that made some Europeans “feel left behind”, Bloomberg reported.

With less than a week to go until the referendum, Lagarde repeated her assertion that it made economic sense to stay in the EU and rebuffed suggestions that migration had hurt the jobs market.

In her latest intervention, the French-born IMF managing director also pointed to Britain’s track record on migration. Noting the role of refugee and migration issues in the referendum, she said: “I have always admired the United Kingdom for it openness to other nationalities and foreign cultures, and I find it hard to believe that attitudes have changed in such a short time. But this is for British voters to decide, and their decision clearly depends on many factors.”

Lagarde repeated the IMF’s view that the economic risks of Brexit were “firmly to the downside”. She said there was a clear case of how the UK had benefited from more jobs and income as a result of increased trade in the EU and greater investment.

She added: “Being part of the EU has greatly aided the transformation of the UK into a dynamic and vibrant economy. The UK has benefited from the many contributions of talented and hard-working migrants from all over the world, including the EU, while providing record-high levels of employment for all its residents.”