G7 2016: Brexit or Remain: Hope Springs Eternal in Sendai

International Media Centre – G7 Summit, Ise-Shima
By The G7 GLI team

This blog was originally featured on the Global Policy Journal.

The meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on Saturday 21 May in Sendai was intended to focus upon revitalising the global economy. Yet once again the shadow of Britain’s looming referendum on EU membership draped itself across the proceedings.

Having discussed the need for continued cooperation in maintaining the global financial infrastructure, as well as further efforts to combat terrorist financing, the media’s questioning inevitably fell back upon the potential for a leave vote on 23 June. Expressing hope that the UK would choose to remain seemed to be the overriding response from the leading finance ministers amongst the group. But this hope was interspersed with a healthy dose of concern as to the consequences to the global economy that a rejection of membership would have.

The announcement by the British Chancellor that Brexit would cause a potential devastating loss of 18 per cent to the value of UK property did not seem at all ironic when it was announced alongside a visit to Aoba Castle in Miyagi Prefecture, itself having been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times following cataclysmic earthquakes.
In the event of these predictions coming true the world’s leading financiers made clear that they had not yet looked into a Plan B for the impact this would have on the global financial system. But the idea that the UK would choose to pull up its drawbridge to membership of the world’s largest single market has clearly unsettled the women and men who see their role as guarding the economies of the world against shocks and disruptions.

David Cameron flies to the Ise-Shima Summit this week with a different kind of hope to that provided by the Sendai meeting. A hope that the other six world leaders at the G7 will add the weight of their voices to his campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union. The Prime Minister will be looking for this Friday’s press conferences to go a step further than the finance ministers’ proclamations. The project of reinforcing the idea that Brexit would send Britain to the back of the queue in trade negotiations with other world powers will not be an easy one as he strides the world stage at the G7 summit, but for Prime Minister Cameron hope springs eternal.


The GLI team consists of Garrett Wallace Brown, John Casson, Rachel Claringbull, Hugo Dobson, Elliott Glover, John Jacobs, Magdalena Krakau, Gregory Stiles.


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