When you talk to representatives from friendly, non-EU countries about Britain’s referendum, two things strike you. First of all, nearly all of them want Britain to stay in the EU. I have not yet had one conversation where one of them has told me, even on background, that they think it would be better if Britain left. But the second thing that strikes you is their argument for why it would be better for Britain to stay in the EU relates, understandably, to the interests of their own country, not this country. They tend to like what Britain brings to the EU and think that it would be more difficult to deal with without Britain.
It is through this frame that we should see the interventions that will come from foreign governments in the next few months. The idea that the US wouldn’t be interested in a free trade deal with one of its most important strategic allies which is the fifth largest economy in the world just doesn’t pass the smell test.
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