Country or continent? independence or co-operation? England or Europe? The European Union started out as a simple economics agreement. In 1957. 6 countries( France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Italy, Netherlands and West Germany), signed the Treaty of Rome. Thus the European Economic Community was born. At the time England declined to join it; even though it had support from Winston Churchill.
“a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom… a kind of United States of Europe”- Winston Churchill.
Eventually the financial success of the EEC caught the attention of the UK’s population. Now, being fully ingrained, in the public’s lexicon of knowledge, it was a matter of when, not if we joined the EEC. In 1975 a referendum was held to determine whether the UK would join the EU. 67% of people voted in favor and the the UK became a member state of the EEC.
Since then the EEC has become the EU. The membership has expanded from 7 countries to 28 countries. The goals have changed from easier trade between different countries, to becoming a global super power, and having a voice on the global stage.
With all of these changes to the original rules over the years a question has to be raised: Is it time we make a decision on whether regarding our future in the European Union?
This question proves to be a divisive one. According to a poll- taken by this publication- 45% of people are anti-EU. With over 70% of those people claiming immigration is there main concern. It’s time for everyone to take a long look at the drawbacks and benefits of being in the European Union.
We’ll start with Immigration. Immigration is a hotly debated topic in the current political world. There are many drawbacks and benefits of immigration. Some of the benefits include: a large cheap work force, to bolster our working class, and make it more convenient for big and small businesses to hire- not to mention immigrants also tend to do the more unpleasant jobs that British people, just aren’t interested in doing. It was also recently revealed that immigrants add more to the economy, then they take out. According to a report – by the university college London- Immigrants are 45% more likely not to take government handouts. 3% less likely to live in social housing and have reportedly contributed £25 billion in tax.
Of course, for every benefit there is a drawback. One argument against mass immigration is: that a need for highly skilled foreign workers, shouldn’t be conflated with mass immigration. While that is certainly a fair argument to make, It doesn’t seem to hold up when the need of small and big business arrives. Having a massive work force allows businesses to choose the best, brightest and hardest workers among the population. This is actually a good thing, as the hardest and smartest workers will rise up the corporate ladder. This – in theory anyway – creates competition within the working sector, making employees hungrier to work hard, thus improving the business. Another argument against mass immigration, is a strain on resources. As I have already demonstrated, immigrants, contribute a lot more than they take out.
Ultimately I think whether we stay in the EU, or leave, we should still have mass immigration. Historically and recently, mass immigration has proven itself to be crucial, in rebuilding and strengthening an economy. Without immigrants, the NHS would crumble. That alone should be enough of an argument for immigration- whether we are in Europe or out of it.
Another big topic that has to be considered when talking about the European Union, is the economy. One of the benefits of being in a European economy is, that as a member of the EU, Britain is part of the single largest economy on the planet. An economic zone bigger than the US and Japan combined. The European economy has a GDP- Gross Domestic Product- of £11 trillion. British business owners and employers have also taken advantage- and profited- from the large work force, filled with an incredible amount of talent. Another big advantage for the UK is: that the UK get to contribute to making laws on trade and business. If we leave the EU we will no longer be able to effect trade laws, but we would still have to comply with there regulations in order to trade with them.
Their are drawbacks however. One such argument is that we – the UK- contribute a lot more than what we put in. In 2007 a report by the bruges group, says that the UK, contributed £13.1 billion into the EU. We only got £5.2 billion invested back into us. While a claim can be made that this isn’t fair, it’s easy to see why people would get upset about it. But it is easy to understand where the EU is coming from. That money is getting spent in other, under developed countries, who need the money behind them to build up their infrastructure. But then there are some places in England which seem to be crumbing apart at the scene. Westminster for example. Another argument against the EU, is that regulation is strangling business. From 2010-2013 the EU parliament passed over 3000 new regulations. While as of yet no figures have been released to show how much business have profited/lost. But the fact that only about 10% of British businesses actually trade within the EU, over 3000 documents of reform, 13,000,000+ words, seems a little excessive.
When it comes to the economy, we should leave. This is due to the fact that we are losing vital billions from contributions every year. Then there is the reforms. Their is no argument that business should regulated. The government should be proctoring people from any and all possible threats that governments pose. But the EU’s reforms effect all businesses in the European Union. Only about 10% of UK businesses even trade inside the EU. Yet the other 90% still have to comply with the EU’s regulations. It’s unfair to subjugate most of the population to unfair rules, for the minorities privilege.
Another staple of an EU membership is: EU human rights. Human rights are set of universal rights, afforded to anyone within the jurisdiction of the state which puts them into law.
While most human rights are a great benefit to the general population, some can prove fairly troublesome; especially when the states independence is put in jeopardy. An example of a EU human rights law getting in the way of British law would be in the case of a man: identified as “AH”. Due to the fact that EU human rights stop states being able to render a citizen stateless. While that law can be good in protecting asylum seekers, it completely emasculates the UK’s legal system. While this isn’t a rallying cry against human rights, it is just pointing out that some human rights can act as a double edged sword. I would say that -in a modern day democracy – human rights are essential. My argument would simply be that the UK should have its own exclusive human rights, upheld by parliament. As right now English law and EU human rights seem to be in conflict with each other. It’s not like the UK has created and updated it’s own bill of human rights. All i’m advocating for is for the UK to update our rights one more time.
In conclusion, the UK should stay in the European Union. While their are many disadvantages to the EU, and a massive reform of its constitution wouldn’t go amiss. I do think that ultimately as a member of the EU we would be able to effect change on a global scale. Which is just not something that we can realistically do on our own.