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Montevideo, November 19th 2017 - 05:06 UTC

Bloomberg describes Brexit as the “single stupidest thing any country has ever done”

Thursday, October 26th 2017 - 06:04 UTC
Full article 17 comments
“It is really hard to understand why a country that was doing so well wanted to ruin it” with the Brexit vote, commented Michael Bloomberg “It is really hard to understand why a country that was doing so well wanted to ruin it” with the Brexit vote, commented Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media mogul and former mayor of New York, has said Brexit is the “single stupidest thing any country has ever done” apart from the election of Donald Trump as US president. Bloomberg argued that “it is really hard to understand why a country that was doing so well wanted to ruin it” with the Brexit vote, in a series of outspoken remarks made at a technology conference in Boston a fortnight ago.

 At that event, Bloomberg, 75, also warned that some workers at the financial media company that bears his name were asking to leave the UK and US because they think the two countries no longer like immigrants and are no longer welcoming.

The CEO was in London on Tuesday to open a new European headquarters for Bloomberg in the City, covering 1.3 hectares. But his earlier remarks, unearthed the same day, suggested he had regrets about making the investment decision because of the Brexit vote.

“We are opening a brand new European headquarters in London – two big, expensive buildings. Would I have done it if I knew they were going to drop out? I’ve had some thoughts that maybe I wouldn’t have, but we are there, we are going to be very happy.

“My former wife was a Brit, my daughters have British passports, so we love England – it’s the father of our country, I suppose. But what they are doing is not good and there is no easy way to get out of it because if they don’t pay a penalty, everyone else would drop out. So they can’t get as good of a deal as they had before.”

He added: “I did say that I thought it was the single stupidest thing any country has ever done but then we Trumped it.”

Bloomberg employs 4,000 staff in the UK and 20,000 worldwide, and the New York-based firm has long made the country its headquarters in Europe. But he said some staff were becoming unhappy about London as a key location.

“One of the things that is hurting us both in the United States and in the UK is that we have employees, not a lot but some, who are starting to say: ‘I don’t want to work here – can we transfer to someplace else? This country doesn’t like immigrants,’” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg first made the comments about Brexit at the little-reported HUBweek conference in Boston less than two weeks ago – and then repeated his quip about Brexit and Trump at an event in France on Monday.

“It is really hard to understand why a country that was doing so well wanted to ruin it,” Bloomberg said of Brexit. “It was not a smart thing to do and getting out of it is going to be very difficult and is going to be very painful. It will hurt industries. People are already taking space in other cities over there [Europe], us included.”

On his visit to London, Bloomberg was more circumspect. Giving a speech next to Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, Bloomberg insisted his company was “strongly committed to London”.

He added: “Whatever London and the UK’s relationship to the EU proves to be, London’s language, time zone, talent, infrastructure and culture all position it to grow as a global capital for years to come. We are very optimistic about London’s future and we are really excited to be a part of it.”

Bloomberg is worth an estimated US$47.5bn according to Forbes and was given an honorary knighthood in 2015. He was a Republican mayor of New York between 2002 and 2013 before he reassumed his position as chief executive of Bloomberg.

His criticism of Brexit included hitting out at the leave campaign and its claims that Britain had problems with immigration and too much EU regulation. Bloomberg described comments from Boris Johnson that the EU rules meant there had to be at least four bananas in a bunch as “fictitious” and said on immigration that Britain “didn’t take anyone from northern Africa or the Middle East”.

He added: “They didn’t have an immigration problem and they didn’t need control of their borders. They have the English Channel – that gave them control of their borders.”

Bloomberg said London was the centre of Europe but warned that was “not going to be as true anymore” due to Brexit.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Clyde15

    What would Bloomberg say to NAFTA adopting or proposing the same regime as in the EU.
    Free unhindered movement of people.
    Common currency
    Joint parliament and the equivalent of the ICJ.
    Common taxes imposed by this parliament.
    AND a common defence force and eventual unification into one state.

    I would guess he would say no way....but he is saying that is what the UK should accept ?

    Oct 26th, 2017 - 05:18 pm +3
  • Clyde15

    Some of us were doing well, others not so well. He is looking at it from the financial sector in London with inflated salaries.

    Oct 26th, 2017 - 09:17 am +2
  • Pete Bog

    “This country doesn’t like immigrants,’” Bloomberg said”

    Bullshit. this country doesn't want to be swamped and over populated but to say all immigrants are unwelcome is utter rubbish.

    There are nearly 55 million people living in England.

    Australia ( a continent) has a population of under 25 million.

    New Zealand roughly the size of the UK has under 5 million people living there.

    This is nothing to do with race colour, and personal qualities of immigrants, many who are decent people .

    There are just too many in a country the size of England.

    Bloomberg does not have to put up with the EU telling the USA what to do and them legally having to comply.

    It's the political side of the EU that has ruined the organisation, not the principles of European friendship and trade.

    And while the UK is bound to lose out so will Europe, as I doubt even 4th placed economy Spain will be able to contribute as much money to the EU as the UK has.

    And there's many people on low incomes who the EU metropolitan elite have ignored.

    Oct 26th, 2017 - 05:06 pm +2
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