Thursday, July 21, 2005

"Out of Europe"

Yahoo is asking people to vote for what they want the Tony Blair to work on during his six month presidency of the EU. Currently, 50% want him to work on getting the UK out of Europe!!

Courtesy of "The Road To Euro Serfdom"


Steve said...

It's a stupid poll though because it doesn't give the option that would be the most beneficial - working with other like minded Europeans to reform the EU.

Unilateral withdrawal is not going to happen because it would do the UK more harm than good.

Snafu said...

Steve, why would it do the UK more harm than good?

I have no problems with the UK leaving the European Union. We are not harmed from being outside the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA). Trade would continue with Europe as before, Switzerland is not harmed by being outside Europe. The East European countries have not joined for altruistic reasons but to benefit from EU largesse funded by the large net contributors such as the UK.

We have no moral obligation to remain in the EU simply to assist in reforming it? How should the EU be reformed? I have no problems with France having an overburdened economy, that's their choice, but just as I don't expect the UK to impose it's will on the French population, I do not expect the French or the EU to impose their social models on the UK. It's for the UK to choose it's own economic path and for the Politicians in the UK to be responsible to the electorate for it.

The biggest reason for not leaving the EU currently is that the EU institutions are an Old Peoples Home for UK politicians whose careers are washed up domestically!!

Snafu said...

I meant to say Switzerland being outside the European Union, not outside Europe of course!!

Steve said...

The EU has trade agreements with NAFTA, ASEAN and the South American trading bloc, not with individual countries. If we pulled out of the EU, we would have to renegotiate agreements with these blocs, not wit their individual members. A slight imbalance of power there I think.

Even if we left the EU, the terms of a trade agreement would mean that we would still have to comply with a lot of the EU regulations, as Norway and Switzerland do now.

We would also lose the benefits of the single market and the ability to go and work anywhere in the EU.

In the longer term, we would also lose our influence in the world. We are more use to the US as part of the EU than we would be outside it. The Americans would court France of Germany as their key Europea ally. In a world that will become increasingly unstable with the rise of China and militant Islam, I would rather we maintained our place at the top table.

Last time England was on its own in the world it was a small country caught between the great powers of France and Spain. This time it would be caught between the EU and NAFTA.

Snafu said...


You do have some valid arguments against EU withdrawal. However, I'm not convinced that we would lose our influence as we are still a member of the UN Security Council. The UK economy is still a significant global economy based on trade. It is inevtiable that China and Brazil are set to dominate the global economy this century.

I doubt that France and Germany will ever be America's key European allies, the UK still has too much of a shared history, language and culture to upset that balance.

I think for many people, including myself, I would be happy to stay within the EU if it existed solely as a common market as the UK signed up to in 1973. Unfortuantely it has morphed into a beast I believe is incapable of true reform. The EU seems intent on becoming a nation state that the UK would only be a small part of.

Some of the greatest benefits of the EU are expressed as the ability to buy property abroad and work abroad. Whilst these are benefits, I am sure that people could still work or buy property abroad if they so wished. They also impact very few people directly within the UK. I would far rather the UK kept it's £12bn annual contribution to the EU for itself!!

Steve said...

Do you reckon we would keep our seat on the security council as we gradually declined to medium power status.

I don't want a European superstate either but even if thee was one, we wouldn't be a small part of it, we would be one of the three biggest components and the one with the most goodwill from the smaller members.

We should be trying to dominate the EU, not to pull out. I'd prefer to stay and play to win rather than take our ball home.