French Finance Minister Michel Sapin on Friday said he deeply believes it is best for the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union, and the British people would make the “right decision” in the upcoming referendum to remain a member.
“I believe in the intelligence of the people and I believe the British people will make the right decision, despite the crisis, despite the opportunistic measures that might be taken,” Sapin said in Hong Kong ahead of a G20 meeting of central bankers and finance ministers in Shanghai.
“British people will make the right decision – which is to stay.”
Sapin’s comments follow a the Financial Times report that British finance minister George Osborne is pushing the Group of 20 leading economies to warn about the dangers of Britain leaving the European Union.
Osborne said he hoped G20 support for Britain staying in the EU would be an important outcome of the meeting on Friday and Saturday in Shanghai, the FT said, citing people close to the finance minister. (http://on.ft.com/1Oyl320)
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said he hopes a deal can be struck to keep Britain in the European Union and to ensure the unity of Europe’s single market, in particular for financial services as well as freedom of movement within the bloc.
Separately, Sapin said he would be pushing for China to become a full member of the Paris Club of creditor nations at a time of global economic uncertainty and shaky markets.
“Obviously when I say that the Paris Club is to go through an enlargement I am thinking about China,” he said. He acknowledged, however, that while the club’s rules including high levels of transparency and information disclosure, could be seen “as an issue for China” they wouldn’t be watered down to allow Beijing’s entry.
“The membership of the Paris Club requires that memebers respect a certain number of rules … I don’t see why we need to slacken these rules, we just have to share these rules.”
The Paris Club is an informal group of creditor governments including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.