British voters who opted to leave the European Union because of concern globalization is killing jobs at home won’t benefit from Brexit, a World Bank economist said.
People who complain that employment opportunities dried up as manufacturing positions moved overseas won’t gain from curbs on the number of EU citizens allowed into the U.K., Hans Timmer said in an interview in Bucharest. A lack of ideas on how to assist these voters creates the risk they’ll adopt more extreme views in the future, he said.
“The changes that are in the making at the moment will not help these people,” he said Tuesday. “They haven’t lost their jobs because of immigration — or otherwise these jobs will still be there — but because of technology and globalization, which the U.K. will still continue because they still want to be a part of the global trading system.”
Control over immigration has emerged as a key demand for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government as the U.K. prepares to begin formal talks to leave the EU next year. While that stance will probably result in reduced access for Britain to the bloc’s single market, U.K. officials say the country will be better positioned to seal more lucrative trade deals elsewhere.
Timmer cautioned against the growing popularity of the idea that quitting the EU is a remedy to the issues many of the continent’s voters are enduring.
“One of the solutions that one can see now, and not only in England but in other parts of the EU as well, is retreating from the EU thinking that the problems are trade, immigration or having your decisions influenced by Brussels, and that everything will be better if you can give your country back to the people,” he said. “That’s the wrong solution and it will enormously backfire.”