John Stevens (letters, March 31) asks for an outline of the benefits of EU membership. They are:
As part of the world’s largest single market, UK firms export freely to more than 500 million affluent consumers. Some three million jobs are linked to our EU membership. Each household is better off by a £3,000 per annum.
Better EU trade deals generate more UK jobs and foreign investment. Alone the UK, with two per cent of global GDP, would have less weight in international trade negotiations because we are no longer part of the world’s economy with 30 per cent of global GDP.
The UK influences and agrees all EU legislation through the participation of our elected ministers in the EU Council and our elected European Parliamentarians. If we are not at the table, we cannot influence EU decisions. Non-members such as Norway and Switzerland have to adopt EU legislation to access the EU market, but both are unable to shape EU legislation as they are not EU members. Both make about the same budgetary contribution as us.
We benefit from the ability to live, work in, study, and access health and other benefits in other EU states. EU citizens working in the UK make a net tax contribution and help fill skills gaps, eg the NHS would collapse without them. The EU arrest warrant helps us combat transnational crime and terrorism. The EU benefits consumers (eg reduced mobile phone roaming charges and cheaper air travel), and curbs banking excesses and tax avoidance.
EU legislation provides for more holidays, maternity rights, equal pay and a safer working environment. The EU helps us curb climate change which we cannot tackle alone.
The EU and NATO have contributed to building peace and prosperity in Europe for 57 years. The EU, with the UK in the lead, helped transform communist central European countries into market democracies. Armed conflict between any EU state is now unthinkable. We should be thankful that many of us and our children have not had to go to war in Europe unlike generations of our predecessors.
Our continued membership is critical for our country’s security. If we leave the EU, the future of the United Kingdom is in doubt. Scotland would likely convene a second independence referendum and the Northern Ireland peace process would be undermined.
Britain outside the EU would have less global influence. The UK, EU and its Eastern neighbours would be more susceptible to destabilisation by a resurgent Russia. Do we really want to be alone again? As Churchill said, there is one thing worse than having allies, and that is not having allies.
The consensus of economic forecasts suggest a recession with a two per cent decline in GDP if we decide to leave. We know what ‘Remain’ looks like – the present – but we do not know what leave looks like? Leavers are unable to provide, let alone agree, a viable alternative to EU membership. Leavers are calling for a leap into the dark.
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