Thursday, 17 January 2013

On Britain and the European Union

The EU seems to be a big deal now, or something.
Recently I changed my opinion on what we should do about the EU.
I completely agreed with the Euro-sceptics ; if they don't agree to our proposals, we walk.
Freedom from the EU seemed great, as did the independence.

We currently contribute more money to the EU than we gain; many countries, France especially, rely on this subsidising. Also, we'd (arguably) be free from their rules and regulations.
If we just look at that, then it seems pointless to stay in the EU.
Another problem is immigrants from all over Europe flooding in, crowding up our living space and generally taking our jobs (because we all know how crafty and educated those moustachioed Romanians are).
But but but.
We need to realistically look into what would happen if we left the EU.
Think about trade; something like 50% of our exports go to the EU.  We simply cannot afford to lose such important trade links. We really do not want to piss off the large number of countries with who we trade, especially in our current, trying economic situation. Trade within Europe and with foreign countries would also become a problem as we'd need to negotiate trading deals with different countries.

Also there isn't really any way to be in the halfway house. There is no way we will get the same position that Switzerland currently has. If we want to be in a similar position to countries such as Norway, it would not benefit us in any way. We'd still be affected by certain EU laws, for example on shipping and agriculture, yet would no longer be able to take any part in the decision making involved in creating and passing these laws. We'd lose our very important central bartering position.

And think about the USA: we currently have a lot of influential power as a core member of the EU, but if we were to drop out we'd lose this important voice. The US is worried about this; refer to this article in the Telegraph   Our power as the USA's ally would be severely diminished. This is really not very good.

Though there would be a short-term economic gain, in the long run we really don't want to drop out of the EU, because there's no way of keeping the common market which is essential to our stagnant economy, whilst being freed of all the rest. Never mind there is no actual legislation for how a country is supposed to drop out.

There's an article in a recent issue of Economist about whether we should join the EU. It highlights several good points for why David Cameron needs to sit tight despite pressure from both Ukip and elements of his own party. Read it if you're a Eurosceptic, or if you'd actually like to know more about this.

I talked with a friend recently at the possibility of a referendum on the EU and what it would entail. She told me that if there is a referendum, there will probably be a very low turnout, consisting only of people who have very strong opinons on the subject. More worryingly, this opinion will probably be Euro-sceptic.
Another thing to think about is what the referendum would ask; there are few people who want to abandon the EU altogether, and much more who just want the benefits with none of the stupidity.
Depending on what the choice in the referendum is, the results and decision could vary hugely.

I guess we'll just have to see.

(By the way, I study neither politics or economics. So, if you'd like to actually get an educated opinion, talk to a politics student or read the above articles/find articles discussing this issue.)

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