Britain has a “fixation” with next week’s vote on whether the U.K. should exit the European Union trading block, Blackstone Chairman and CEO Steve Schwarzman said Tuesday
The prospects for leaving the EU, which has been gaining momentum, creates economic uncertainty and does not help global growth in the near to medium term, the private equity billionaire told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview from London.
“It’s the first conversation you have with almost everyone here. They just bring it up,” Schwarzman said. “The issues are sort of a bit subtle and unknowable. One of the major issues is what happens to the EU?” He also wondered whether other countries would also leave.
“If the EU stays together, there will be a period of adjustment,” the Blackstone co-founder continued. “This doesn’t happen in a day. It’s years to negotiate some kind of exit if you were to have one between the U.K. and the EU.”
Concerns over the possible implications of a Brexit pushed the yield on the 10-year benchmark German bund into negative territory for the first time ever Tuesday.
In U.S. politics, the unorthodox presidential campaign is making Europeans “unsettled” about America, the longtime Republican Schwarzman said.
“People are a bit curious and uncertain how the U.S. whole election process got to be so odd,” he said, “whether it’s a socialist [Bernie Sanders] winning 23 states … or someone who has no political experience on other side [Donald Trump] … becoming visible.”
Schwarzman, who didn’t really answer the question Tuesday on whether he’s still supporting Trump, told CNBC in January he would pick Trump over then GOP presidential challenger Ted Cruz.