EU Referendum: Four international organisations backing Remain

Christine Lagarde didn't sugarcoat her opinions on the EU Referendum.
Christine Lagarde didn't sugarcoat her opinions on the EU Referendum.

Britain may be divided on the Brexit issue, but the consensus abroad is much more consistent. Here are some of the organisations backing Remain.

"The Brexit tax would be a pure deadweight loss, a cost incurred with no economic benefit. And this tax would not be a one-off levy. Britons would be paying it for many years." - Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General.

Whether it's politicians, businesses or the general public, everyone in the UK has differing opinions on the country's EU future. Polls have consistently shown that the Leave and Remain camps are deadlocked, but the consensus abroad seems to be that Britons should vote to stay.

In fact, some of the world's most renowned international organisations have waded into the debate to dissuade those who may be leaning towards Brexit. Let's look at the big names backing Remain and see what they've said about the potential repercussions of exiting the EU.

1. The IMF

Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), wasn't pulling any punches earlier this month when she gave her opinion on what Brexit could mean for the UK. She claimed that "pretty bad" is a best-case scenario, but "very, very bad" is also a possibility.

Her comments reinforced the IMF's stance in a recent report, which highlighted the long-term effects of a Leave vote as "negative and substantial". The organisation also claimed financial markets would take a hit and output would slow. However, Vote Leave argued that the EU and UK government both fund the IMF, bringing the organisation's partiality into question.

"The IMF warned Britain it was playing with fire when it set out a plan to deal with the deficit. Now our economy is stronger than nearly every other major economy," said MP Priti Patel. "Today, the IMF is talking down Britain because we want to take back control from Brussels. They were wrong then and they are wrong now."


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicted that GDP in the UK would slump 3% within four years if the UK left the EU. The OECD blamed lower confidence and higher levels of uncertainty for the economic slowdown, suggesting it amounted to a "Brexit tax" on households.

"The Brexit tax would be a pure deadweight loss, a cost incurred with no economic benefit. And this tax would not be a one-off levy. Britons would be paying it for many years," stated OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria.

Unsurprisingly, the Leave campaign weren't about to let these remarks slide. Economist Andrew Lillico told the BBC the OECD's figures were "very implausible" and even "absurd". He said they were based on the unlikely assumption that the UK wouldn't be able to secure any trade deals with the EU or any other countries by 2023.

3. World Bank

The World Bank has been a little more reserved in its support for the Remain camp, with the organisation's president, Jim Yong Kim, stating the decision is ultimately one for the British people alone to make. However, in a press meeting with the IMF in Washington last month, Mr Yong Kim's comments suggested the World Bank favours an integrated EU.

"I would just say that this is an economy, given our projections of lower growth this year, that is not going to do well with more uncertainty," he explained.

Mr Yon Kim's remarks appear to have flown under the radar, with Leave advocates failing to release a direct rebuttal. However, the World Bank's stance appears to align with the Bank of England's views on Brexit. The organisations feel that exiting the EU would increase uncertainty, which would harm economic growth and weaken the pound.


Jens Stoltenberg, the current secretary-general of NATO, has remained fairly tight-lipped regarding his EU Referendum opinions. Like Mr Yon Kim, he claimed it's up to the British people to decide. Nevertheless, he admitted NATO and international security would be stronger if the UK chose to remain in the EU.

Meanwhile, five former NATO secretary-generals wrote in an article to the Daily Telegraph that the organisation works closely with the EU to "stave off instability in that region". They claimed Brexit would be "very troubling" and could "give succour to the West's enemies".

The secretary-generals made their thoughts known after prime minister David Cameron suggested that the UK's exit could increase the risks of European conflicts. His comments were disparaged by fellow Conservative Boris Johnson, who argued that NATO has been the defining force in maintaining stability in the region, not the EU.

Are they right?

Clearly, many international organisations are keen to see the UK maintain its EU membership, although Leave advocates claim they typically have a vested interest in such matters. Every argument for remaining in the EU often has an equally compelling reason to leave, so it's unsurprising that the two camps are neck-and-neck in many polls.

Voters will have to make up their own minds on which side of the debate they believe is most convincing based on the available evidence. But if you want to keep up to date with the latest news and opinions on the EU Referendum, why not read our Brexit series? We'll be covering everything you need to know in the run-up to June 23rd.

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