British civil servants have warned in a report that leaving the European Union would cause a decade of uncertainty because of the complex process of agreeing to terms to leave.
The report said that millions of Britons would be affected as the UK takes a decade to extricate itself from the 28-nation bloc.
“In short, a vote to leave the EU would be the start, not the end, of a process. It could lead to up to a decade or more of uncertainty,” the report said.
Exiting the EU involves taking the unprecedented step of invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Though Greenland left an earlier, more limited version of the bloc in 1985, invoking Article 50 has not happened before, AFP reported.
Backers of the exit campaign say their opponents are scaremongering. London Mayor Boris Johnson, for example, used his column in the Daily Telegraph to warn of “questionable assertions” about the impact of a British EU exit on the economy and national security.
“In every case the message is that Brexit is simply too scary; and the reality is that these threats are so wildly exaggerated as to be nonsense. Indeed I am ever more convinced that the real risk is to sit back and do nothing, to remain inertly and complacently in an unreformed EU that is hell-bent on a federal project over which we have no control,” he wrote.
He chastised Britain’s Treasury — under the guidance of political rival George Osborne — for persuading others in the Group of 20 of the world’s biggest economies to include a warning in a post-summit communique on Saturday that having Britain leave the EU “is among the biggest economic dangers this year.”