UPDATE 1-Brexit would be serious risk to global economic growth -G7 leaders

Fri May 27, 2016 3:01am EDT
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(Adds Cameron and Hollande)

By Kylie MacLellan and Andreas Rinke

ISE-SHIMA, Japan May 27 (Reuters) - A British exit from the European Union would be a serious risk to global economic growth, Group of Seven leaders said in a summit declaration on Friday, although German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the issue had not been discussed.

The statement will be welcomed by the British government, which has issued a series of warnings about the domestic cost of voters opting to leave the bloc in a June 23 referendum on EU membership.

"A UK exit from the EU would reverse the trend towards greater global trade and investment, and the jobs they create, and is a further serious risk to growth," G7 leaders said, in the only reference to the vote in a 32-page declaration.

Brexit was listed alongside geopolitical conflicts, terrorism and refugee flows as a potential shock of a "non-economic origin".

The issue was not formally on the agenda at the two-day summit in Japan, but British government officials had said they expected it would come up on the margins.

Merkel said that leaders had not discussed Brexit but that there was a consensus that they wanted the country to stay in.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is pushing for Britain to stay in the EU, told reporters on Friday there was a real economic risk in leaving and Britain should listen to its friends.   Continued...