The Times backs Britain staying in EU

17th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

The Times newspaper came out Saturday in favour of Britain staying in the European Union.

"Why remain is best for Britain" it said on the front page, five days ahead of the referendum on the UK's membership of the bloc.

"The best outcome of next week's referendum would be a new alliance of sovereign EU nations dedicated to free trade and reform, led by Britain," it said in a 2,000-word editorial.

It joins the Financial Times business newspaper and The Economist magazine in formally backing the Remain campaign.

The Times is part of global media baron Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper stable, which also includes The Sun and The Sunday Times.

The Sun tabloid, Britain's biggest-selling newspaper, has come out in favour of Britain leaving the EU.

The Times' editorial said the referendum would shape Britain's character for decades to come, affecting its laws, borders, immigration and faith in either "an imperfect present or an unknown future".

It said voting to stay "would be a pragmatic rather than enthusiastic choice, made despite the behaviour of Brussels rather than because of it", as it criticised both the EU and the Remain campaign.

The paper said that in the last five years, "the EU's agenda has narrowed and its effectiveness has dramatically diminished".

Its institutions are "undemocratic, meddling and short-sighted", The Times said.

The EU has to reform its freedom of movement rules or risk collapsing if it does not, said the daily.

- UK should 'drive' EU reform -

When British Prime Minister David Cameron sought a new relationship between London and Brussels, "he was offered token concessions" from an EU that was not listening or open to reform.

It said the Remain campaign led by Cameron had not inspired voters and the status quo had become a byword for frustration.

Meanwhile the Leave camp has "all the best lines" and "the romance of adventure".

However, quitting would not "answer at a stroke the prayers of those Vote Leave is wooing", the paper insisted.

"A vote for Brexit is unquestionably economically riskier than a vote to remain.

"On balance we believe Britain would be better off leading a renewed drive for reform within the EU rather than starting afresh outside it.

"By the same token a win for Remain followed by a limp return to business as usual would be a dismal outcome," it added.

The Times said the referendum had been a "thunderous rebuke to Europe" which should "shake Brussels out of its complacency".

"It may not sound as exhilarating or romantic as a defiant march to Brexit, but it is the better choice for Britain and Europe," the paper concluded.

With the referendum on a knife-edge, few British newspapers have formally backed one camp or the other, though their sentiments might be clear.

The Financial Times said Thursday that voting to leave the EU "would seriously damage the UK economy", as it officially endorsed remaining.

© 2016 AFP

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