Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australia wants Britain to stay in European Union
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Commonwealth-member Australia wants Britain to stay in the European Union, weeks before Britain holds a referendum on whether to stay or leave EU membership.
Bishop told reporters in Washington that "a strong UK as part of the European Union would be in Australia's interests," as cited by the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
Bishop said she told British Prime Minister David Cameron of Australia's position at a meeting in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit, AAP said.
Britain will hold the referendum on June 23.
Australia widely viewed Britain's entry into the European Economic Community in 1973 as a betrayal, and now Britain takes only 2.5 percent of Australia's exports, while China takes more than 31 percent.
Supporters of the move of Britain's exit from the European Union, referred to as a "Brexit", argue that Commonwealth members could repay for the partial loss of Europe's 444 million customers.
Conservative MP David Davis outlined their ambitions in a recent speech.
"This is an opportunity to renew our strong relationships with Commonwealth and Anglosphere countries," he said.
"These parts of the world are growing faster than Europe. We share history, culture and language. We even share similar legal systems. The usual barriers to trade are largely absent."