Don’t go: UK gives 'more strength to EU' says Portuguese Econ. Minister

Portugal is one of many European countries that hopes the U.K. chooses to remain within the European Union, the Portuguese economy minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral to CNBC on Tuesday.

"Portugal is the oldest ally of the U.K. We have a very old treaty of alliance and I think our alliance with the U.K. is going to stay on and I think it's going to be strong whatever the result but of course we would like to see Britain with us, inside the European Union," said Cabral, speaking from Brussels.

The U.K. choosing to remain in the EU will give "more strength to the European Union."

The role of the U.K. in the 28-member bloc is very important for Portugal, explained Cabral, "because we are also an Atlantic country, very linked to the United States and to the Americas, and I think England is an important partner in Europe."

Although the decision ultimately lies in the hands of British voters next week, Portugal is "of course anxious about this situation," he added.

However, should the U.K. opt to leave, Cabral does not believe Portugal will follow in its footsteps and ever leave the EU. But Portugal would "stay better with England and the U.K. in the European Union working together."

The U.K. can play an important role in reforming the EU, said Cabral, and not just one that Portugal and other countries can benefit from. "Even for the U.K., it's very important to stay in and try to change Europe for the better then stay out and have to deal with Europe where the U.K. will have no power."

The latest polls show the Leave campaign leading the Remain campaign. U.K. citizens will cast their votes on June 23.

Portuguese Flag waves in sight of the 25 de Abril Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal.
Dominik Bindl | Getty Images
Portuguese Flag waves in sight of the 25 de Abril Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal.

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