The day is approaching where those of you who can will have your say on Brexit: Britain's departure from the EU.
The EU is an economic and political union of 28 countries. It operates a single market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states.
The European Union (EU) referendum is to take place June 23rd 2016, according to a recent announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron.
It is for this reason that Politics Made Public has gathered for you the main arguments for and against our exit from the EU.
Five main reasons for the UK to stay in Europe
So what do the ‘In’ partisans defend exactly? – what are their reasons for wanting the UK to remain member of the EU?
1. Britain benefits from a big economic boost thanks to its EU membership.
This translates into an estimated 3 million extra jobs. Germany and France are our biggest trading partners, whilst 50% of our exports go to EU countries.
This means that foreigners can work in the UK.
Some argue that the flow of immigrants, most of whom are young and keen to work, would fuel economic growth and help pay for public services. Many British businesses therefore see this as the biggest advantage of being part of the EU free trade, since it enables them to more easily and inexpensively export their goods to Europe.
2. It means we can live, work and travel abroad relatively stress-free.
Membership to the EU enables us to
access the EU with
relatively minimal VISA issues. Membership of the EU also ensures the
validity of UK driving licenses throughout EU countries.
3. Our investment depends on it.
Pro-Europeans reckon the UK’s status
as one of the world’s biggest financial centres will come under
threat if it is no longer seen as a gateway to the EU for the likes
of US banks.
But Brexit campaigners however argue London’s unique appeal will not be diminished.
4. Our international status would suffer, including our military influence.
Regarding the influence of the UK in
the world, the ‘in’ voters try to warn against the damage to the country’s international status should we leave the EU.
Many believe that America would
consider Britain to be a less useful ally if it was detached from
Europe. As The Economist puts it, the most likely outcome is that
Britain would find itself « as a scratchy outsider with somewhat
limited access to the single market, almost no influence and few
friends. And one certainty: that having once departed, it would be
all but impossible to get back in again. »
5. There are practical consequences of such a departure from the EU.
This represents the most complex and delicate argument surrounding the debate.
argue that, in practice, Britain would still be subject to the
politics and economics of Europe, but would no longer have a seat at
the table to try to influence matters – in other words, that ‘an
amicable divorce’ would not be possible.
while still remaining under the EU’s umbrella and subject to
regulations, the UK would risk loosing its negotiation power and say
around the table of decision-makers.
Five main reasons for the UK to leave the EU
What do Eurosceptics have to say, and what are their own arguments for a UK departure of the Union?
1. We need to control immigration.
One of the biggest reasons supported by ‘out’ voters relates to possibly the greatest current affairs issue of recent – namely, the refugee crisis.
Because more foreigners we allow to enter the country, the less jobs will remain available for British citizens, right?
Eurosceptics are in favour of ‘self-management of own borders’, and therefore want to have border control back in the hands of the UK government.
2. The membership fee is expensive.
Eurosceptics argue that the boost to income offered by EU membership does not outweigh the billions of pounds in membership fees Britain would save if it left the EU.
The membership saving was estimated between £25m and £55m a day, depending on rebates and other receipts.
3. It would actually boost the economy.
Regarding the investment-related arguments mentioned above on behalf of the pro-Europeans, the flip-side reasoning was recently argued by Barclays.
Barclays affirms that the departure of one of the union’s most powerful economies would hit its finances and also boost populist anti-EU movements in other countries, which would open a « Pandora’s box » that could lead to the « collapse of the European project. » In this event, the UK could be seen as a safe haven from those risks, attracting investors, boosting the pound and reducing the risk that Scotland would « leave the relative safety of the UK for an increasingly uncertain EU. »
4. Rules and regulations burden small businesses.
It is argued that the vast majority of small and medium sized firms actually do not trade with the EU but are restricted by a huge regulatory burden imposed from abroad.
In addition, many Eurosceptics see the European community regime as wholly undemocratic, since the unelected European Commission has the capacity of proposing laws that will supersede national legislation would they pass.
5. It worked for Norway.
‘Out’ voters love using a successful example in order to strengthen their position. Norway is not a member of the EU, but has access to the single market (trades included) while not being bound by EU laws on areas such as agriculture, justice and home affairs.
So, it can work here too right?
Apparently this is what Norwegian toilet paper looks like.
We hope this gathering of the main arguments surrounding the ‘in or out’ debate will help you to grasp the issues at stake and form your own opinion.
N.B. The arguments aren’t necessarily this clear. Much speculation surrounds statistics within the debate, which are often contradictory from both sides of the argument. Unfortunately, recent #Brexit polls have also failed to provide clarity on the current public sentiment.
Watch this space…
Want to find out more? Follow the leading campaigns surrounding the debate: