The Latest: UK says leaving EU will make country poorer

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Anti-Brexit supporters talk as they protest opposite the House of Parliament in London, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. The European Union’s highest court on Tuesday began considering whether Britain could unilaterally revoke its decision to leave the EU before the planned exit date of March 29. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):

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12:20 p.m.

The European Commission is rejecting a petition demanding that all EU citizens be given a say on whether Britain can leave the bloc.

The petition’s organizers want the Commission to allow everyone in the 28 member states to vote on Brexit in an EU-wide referendum.

The Commission, the executive body that supervises EU laws, said Wednesday that it cannot register the demand because the bloc’s treaties permit countries to leave if they want.

Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “This matter simply falls outside our field of competence.”

Citizens’ initiatives allow 1 million people from at least one quarter of EU member countries to request that the Commission take action where it has powers to do so.

The Commission says it regrets Britain’s departure but must respect the 2016 Brexit referendum.


11:30 a.m.

A British government analysis says the country will be poorer after leaving the European Union than if it had stayed in, no matter what sort of trade deal it has with the bloc.

An assessment released Wednesday estimates that 15 years from the day of departure, GDP will be 0.6 percent lower than it would have been if the country stayed in the EU — if the U.K. maintains frictionless trade with the bloc. If it leaves without a deal and there are significant barriers to trade, the economy would be up to 9.3 percent smaller.

The data analyses a range of options, from leaving without a deal to staying in the EU’s single market for goods and services.

The analysis comes as Prime Minister Theresa May battles to persuade lawmakers to back the divorce deal the government has struck with the EU.

It does not analyze the specific deal agreed last week, but estimates that under similar terms the economic hit would be at the lower end of the range.


8:40 a.m.

Britain’s Treasury chief says leaving the European Union on any terms will leave the economy worse off than remaining in the bloc.

Philip Hammond says that “if you look at this purely from an economic point of view there will be a cost to leaving the European Union, because there will be impediments to our trade.”

But he says a divorce deal agreed between the British government and the EU, which calls for continued close economic ties, will minimize the economic damage.

The government and the Bank of England both plan to publish assessments Wednesday of the economic impact of Brexit under different scenarios.

Prime Minister Theresa May is battling to persuade skeptical lawmakers to back the Brexit deal before Parliament votes Dec. 11 to accept or reject it.

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