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France's Sarkozy warns 'Brexit' would be catastrophic

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy addresses a conference at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi on April 13.

NEW DELHI -- The potential U.K. exit from the European Union could have "very serious" repercussions for that country and the 28-nation bloc as a whole, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday during his visit to India, amid a raging debate on the issue ahead of Britain's June 23 referendum.

     "Great Britain is the second-biggest economy in Europe [after Germany]. For Great Britain, it [an EU exit] will be a catastrophe," said Sarkozy, the opposition leader in France, which is to hold its next presidential election in 2017. "How can [the U.K.] want to play a role in the European Union's finance and at the same time leave EU? It will be a very bad thing for Europe."

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