Central Europe urges Britain to stay in EU

8th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

Four eastern EU states on Wednesday said they needed Britain to stay in the bloc, two weeks before the landmark UK referendum on membership.

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, speaking at a meeting in Prague with Czech, Hungarian and Slovak counterparts, said that London played a very important role in the EU and "we need Britain there."

Szydlo, whose Law and Justice party is eurosceptic, warned that "it won't be possible to create a good platform for cooperation with Britain outside the EU."

Ahead of the June 23 vote, an average of the last six domestic opinion polls published by the WhatUKThinks website puts the "Remain" camp slightly ahead at 51 percent and the "Leave" campaign at 49 percent.

Slovakia's Premier Robert Fico, whose country will take over the rotating six-month EU presidency on July 1, said Brexit will be an issue regardless of the referendum outcome.

If Britain stays the EU would be "in for a difficult period of implementing its (reform) deal" with London, he said.

Fico also noted that there is no blueprint in the EU treaties for the departure of a member state.

The premiers of the four so-called Visegrad group countries also said in a joint statement it would be easier for the EU to tackle its "many difficult challenges" with Britain as a member.

Some 800,000 Poles and hundreds of thousands of Czech, Slovaks and Hungarians have migrated to Britain seeking jobs and a better life since the EU's eastward expansion in 2004.

© 2016 AFP

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