We Must Get Britain Out of the EU

Britain has never been a comfortable member of the European Union. We were taken in on the myth that the European Economic Community (EEC) – as it was then known –  was just a “Common Market,” a trading bloc not too different from NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

A few had read the Treaty of Rome, the treaty Britain signed becoming a member of the EEC, and pointed out that the purpose of the “Community” was “ever closer union.” Their ultimate goal is complete political, economic and social union across the member states. If only more had listened to the warnings of the few.

Next year will mark the fortieth year of British membership, and how times and views have changed. Brits voted two to one to remain members in 1975. Now opinion polls show the reverse!

The EU has turned into a political machine. Rather than breaking down barriers to trade, it has metastasized, spreading its web into areas of social and employment policy, welfare, migration and energy to name a few. Over the next few years it aims to take over the banking and fiscal policies of member states.

Our Prime Minister supposedly vetoed the latter, yet a reading of the agreed text clearly shows in Article 16 that fiscal union will be written into the legal code of the EU (to which all members are subject to) by 2017.

To cap it all, the British taxpayer pays £53 million a day to be a part of this union, near on £20 billion per year. This is a fraction of the £150 billion economist Professor Sir Tim Congdon has estimated the EU costs the British economy in over regulation and associated programs each year.

Our case at Get Britain Out is that we do not need to be part of the EU. Our case is simple, clear and practical for a world getting closer together. We want to trade with the EU and not be part of its political union. As a consequence we will be able to make our own trade deals, giving us the freedom to join NAFTA and other free trade areas.

The EU sells more to us than we do to it

The UK is its largest market and, as such, it is inconceivable to believe that the EU would throw its biggest market to the wall if it left the political club of the EU.  If it did, then the World Trade Organization (WTO) might have a thing or two to say about it. On that matter, while the UK is in the EU, the EU takes our seat at the WTO. Outside the EU, we would retake our seat and have a much greater say on common standards in global trade.

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Norway and Switzerland, European countries outside the EU, both send more goods per capita to the EU than the UK. It’s proof enough that a country does not need to be a member of the EU to trade with it.

Moreover, the EU’s own treaties compel it to contribute to “free and fair trade” with the wider world. It is negotiating a trade agreement with Japan, yet no one is arguing for Japan to become a member of the EU.

Bizarrely, supporters of the EU say we need to be in the EU in order to have a say on standards. Yet the EU doesn’t ask for representatives in other legislatures to have a say on their trading standards. This is the last straw man argument the EU has and, like the others, it doesn’t pass scrutiny.

Britain can be stronger outside the EU. Only 10% of our GDP is involved in trade with the EU, with around half of that being trade in goods that have to meet EU standards. Yet EU regulations apply to 100% of our economy, hindering small businesses and enterprise.

Even worse, it has encroached into other policy areas. It now decides what our energy policies should be – its Large Combustion Plant Directive, for example, will shut down the plants that provide us with a third of our energy use by 2015. No amount of EU-sponsored windmills will keep the lights on as replacement.

The EU’s working time directive has gone as far as to keep the elderly locked out of their care homes due to its rigid enforcement.

British borders are almost non-existent due to EU laws on “free movement.”

The Great British Public has had enough of the EU. It’s time we stepped aside, maintained friendly trade links, but ended our involvement in political union. The wider world is waiting for us to Get Britain Out.

Tim Aker is the Campaign Manager of Get Britain Out. He has formerly worked for the TaxPayers’ Alliance and a Member of the European Parliament. You can follow Get Britain Out on Twitter, on Facebook and by signing up to the campaign here.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Great to see Get Britain Out making headway.