Britain leaving the EU ?

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kinda disappointing there hasn't been a topic started about this already given recent developments.

anyways...

it seems almost everyone with an interest in British public life seems to think its a bad idea (including our geopolitical allys) except:

ukip.

the right wing of the tory party.

the UKs right wing dominated press.

and supposedly a fair whack of the electorate.

what do you think ?

Can we get some links or relevant sources for this? I'm not that familiar with English politics.

No. Britain will not leave the EU. It will only hurt it.

On a second note, I started thinking about the EU in a different light recently. Even after failing two world wars, Germany now controls all of Europe. They will control the UK soon enough

*evil laugh*

well Thursday 10 January was a particularly interesting day...

we had "warnings" from the US, Germany and Ireland (whose country currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU) all on the one day:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/09/us-warns-uk-european-union
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/10/germany-cameron-dont-blackmail-eu

some more stuff:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jan/11/george-osborne-uk-leave-eu
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jan/14/david-cameron-britain-collapse-eu

its is basically the biggest political story around in Britain atm and supposedly Cameron will make his big speech on the subject around 22nd or 23rd of January.

Was going to wait until the PM's speech sometime this week on it before making the topic due to probably getting slightly more policy substance then to discuss. As of right now it's a lot of bluster and frustration with little oomph behind it.

My personal speculation is that it'll be the PM attempting a renegotiation of Britain's place in the EU(Not in or out but instead regarding tarrifs, trade etc) which will then be put to the public saying do you want the new deal or stay as we are now. Nobody will be happy with it at all and eventually it'll just be waste money on the referendum that will be decided by a turnout of less than 40%.

stealth edit: Speech set for Friday so that's when everyone'll get more details

There was a survey recently which found that pretty much everyone in the UK overestimates what you get on benefits, and how much of the welfare budget goes to JSAs.

I bring that up because I think that in a similar fashion, the British public's perception of the EU is fundamentally flawed and skewed by the decade and a half of relentless anti EU propaganda issuing from the tabloids, which have never been addressed. The facts on the matter have never been laid out, and if the AV debacle is anything to go by, there is no reason to suppose that we'd get anything but more propaganda should a referendum take place.

I feel this is being made an issue to distract from the rubbish job the coalition are doing with the economy, and an attempt to rest voters back from UKIP.

The EU isn't perfect, I'd much rather it was far more transparent, and that the president was directly elected, but we're not really in a position to negotiate. Britain loses out more than anyone else if we leave, and everybody knows that. What Cameron is doing is damned foolish.

FreedomofInformation:
Sure, why not leave?

Exactly. And then we'll throw everyone out who destabilized the euro, everyone who vote-blocks decisions and all the countries that receive more money than they pay in. That will show the world the EU means business!
And maybe then I will finally be free to declare my bed a souvereign state too so I can get all the chicks who dig the diplomatic immunity.

I've been living in the UK for just over 2 years but from what I've seen, the economy is very dependent on immigrants from the EU who live and work here.
The "less classy" type of jobs belong mostly to immigrants and it's not because we're "stealing jobs" but because the we're the only ones applying for them.

It's crunch time, the EU either has to become closely integrated and accountable for all its bureaucracy, or the UK has to renegotiate the terms of membership. If the UK fails to do anything decisive that's going to result in complete disaster for us.

Personally I'd like for us to move towards a federal Europe, but more realistically think we're going to have to renegotiate our terms of membership, so it's based more on trade. (Assuming we have a referendum of course, otherwise the federal options is still available)

TheIronRuler:
Can we get some links or relevant sources for this? I'm not that familiar with English politics.

No. Britain will not leave the EU. It will only hurt it.

that wont stop us. a large amount of people in Brtitain are very anti-europe and if it comes to a referendum people will vote to go. and the government has said if they cant negotiate a deal (which several countries have said they wont) then its referendum time and we go even further down the shitter

Basically, a lot of the regular electorate are very anti-EU for largely erroneous or misleading reasons.

There are some who are against that kind of federalism in general, despite, perhaps, being against Scotland leaving the UK.

Then there are the majority of politicians both here and around the world, who think the UK should stay in the EU. It is simply the national interest to do so, even if the nation isn't interested. But then most of the nation doesn't know a lick about it, so why should we listen to them?

Which is why this referendum is a bad idea if it comes down to a straight in-or-out vote. If we leave, we're screwed. If we stay, people will be pissed.

Just as well referenda here are so wet: They're not legally binding and they're incredibly open to spin and question-loading.

Put it like this, since my grandfather was Irish, I am entitled to an Irish passport and citizenship. I myself am a rather big fan of the EU, so I'm currently in the process of acquiring said citizenship just in case we leave.

On the whole I think being in the EU is a good thing but I do think that we should be able to tell them to stick it whenever they try to dictate law in our country. At least the PM had the balls to tell them where they could stick their opinion on giving people in jail the vote.

For selfish reasons, no. I just my UK citizenship because my dad was born there (Canadian and English, woo!) so not being able to work in Europe would kind of suck.

Politically, no. Economically, no.
The UK isn't the only one with this problem. The Tories in Canada want us to leave the UN because, "What have they done for us lately? We just give and give!". I see no reason to leave and they'll help us if we get in trouble.

Gizmo1990:
On the whole I think being in the EU is a good thing but I do think that we should be able to tell them to stick it whenever they try to dictate law in our country. At least the PM had the balls to tell them where they could stick their opinion on giving people in jail the vote.

European Court of Human Rights is not part of the EU. It has never been part of the EU, it predates the EU, and the EU did not grow out of it. Apart from both having the word 'European' in it, they are completely different entities. And since we are bound to the ECHR by a completely separate treaty, leaving the EU would not remove our ECHR obligations.

Also, Britain was one of the main players in setting up the ECHR, so assuming we'd never done that and created a British court of human rights after WW2 instead, the rules would be pretty much identical.

What would you gain? Seems like you'd just have to wade through an assload of beaurocracy when it comes to import and export with your biggest trading partner. And I hate to break it to you guys but you haven't been an empire in a long time now and if Scotland decides to up and leave you'll be a country occupying slightly more than half an island on the fringe of Europe.

I have all the respect for the brits and all but I don't see the UK leaving leading to a strong and independent Great Britania leaving the rabble of the continent behind as much as I see it leading to a small and insignificant country overshadowed by the superpower right next door who you will still do most of your trade with, just more unfavorably in the future.

For gods sake man, you'd be the Canada of Europe!

TheGuy(wantstobe):
Was going to wait until the PM's speech sometime this week on it before making the topic due to probably getting slightly more policy substance then to discuss. As of right now it's a lot of bluster and frustration with little oomph behind it.

My personal speculation is that it'll be the PM attempting a renegotiation of Britain's place in the EU(Not in or out but instead regarding tarrifs, trade etc) which will then be put to the public saying do you want the new deal or stay as we are now. Nobody will be happy with it at all and eventually it'll just be waste money on the referendum that will be decided by a turnout of less than 40%.

stealth edit: Speech set for Friday so that's when everyone'll get more details

You know what? I get the impression the Tories (or perhaps more specifically David Cameron) don't really have a Europe policy. What they have is a Europe avoidance policy - do whatever possible to not have matters European in British political discourse. Bring Europe up as little as possible themselves, and hope everyone else mentions it little as well.

Which is why the current government's response to matters European seems continually reactive rather than proactive, and why that discussion rarely gets substantially beyond "Hey, we'll set up a referendum at some point in the future" and other fob-offs, which are essentially all about kicking the can down the road and hoping it will shut people up.

My personal theory for this is that the Tories are, as they have been for 20 years, in a state of hopeless schism on Europe. There are the pragmatists who realise that exiting Europe would be a catastrophic clusterfuck, and the little Englanders whose analysis of the world starts and ends at crass jingoism.

Agema:

TheGuy(wantstobe):
Was going to wait until the PM's speech sometime this week on it before making the topic due to probably getting slightly more policy substance then to discuss. As of right now it's a lot of bluster and frustration with little oomph behind it.

My personal speculation is that it'll be the PM attempting a renegotiation of Britain's place in the EU(Not in or out but instead regarding tarrifs, trade etc) which will then be put to the public saying do you want the new deal or stay as we are now. Nobody will be happy with it at all and eventually it'll just be waste money on the referendum that will be decided by a turnout of less than 40%.

stealth edit: Speech set for Friday so that's when everyone'll get more details

You know what? I get the impression the Tories (or perhaps more specifically David Cameron) don't really have a Europe policy. What they have is a Europe avoidance policy - do whatever possible to not have matters European in British political discourse. Bring Europe up as little as possible themselves, and hope everyone else mentions it little as well.

Which is why the current government's response to matters European seems continually reactive rather than proactive, and why that discussion rarely gets substantially beyond "Hey, we'll set up a referendum at some point in the future" and other fob-offs, which are essentially all about kicking the can down the road and hoping it will shut people up.

My personal theory for this is that the Tories are, as they have been for 20 years, in a state of hopeless schism on Europe. There are the pragmatists who realise that exiting Europe would be a catastrophic clusterfuck, and the l ittle Englanders whose analysis of the world starts and ends at crass jingoism.

Apparently, the moderates in that party are aware that leaving the EU would be a bad idea, while the non-moderates are... well... non-moderate and insane.

I would advice against it. The massive trade-upheaval and new taxation on imports? Most likely increasing hardship for British corps' to establish themselves abroad? Political alienation?
Yeah..I don't think it's very advisable right now.

I sometimes just wish they'd shut up and actually leave, especially when they refuse to participate in dialogue or to give their support to common programmes, but still expect to be able to give their veto whenever they feel like it.

Honestly, maybe then they'd see in how much shit they'd be.

The EU has taken a huge deal of common life issues and provided legislation for that. It takes care of warranties for electrical and digital products, it makes sure that products you buy in France are legal and able to be used in Britain under the same circumstances and so forth and so on.

It does all that with 1%, that's right, one single percent, of GNP per year. Besides that, certain countries (Scandinavian countries, Germany, Netherlands and a few others) are "netto-investors", meaning they put more money in than they would get back in terms of legislative work done.
Britain is certainly not one of those netto-investors, far from it.

Agema:
You know what? I get the impression the Tories (or perhaps more specifically David Cameron) don't really have a Europe policy. What they have is a Europe avoidance policy - do whatever possible to not have matters European in British political discourse.

I think that's very astute.

The Tory leadership strikes me as in a bit of a bind over this one, in that a significant proportion of their voters (and a few of their back-benchers) are just opposed to EU membership on nationalistic or anti-immigration grounds, but at the same time leaving the EU would enormously harm Britain and everyone with a brain knows it.

I don't think Cameron wants to be remembered as the prime minister who fucked over the entire country. I also think he wants all his party voters to support him through the next general election and beyond and stop defecting to UKIP.

To be fair, I think the compromise he seems to be taking so far is actually quite clever and, if he can actually get other countries in the union behind his ideas on EU reform could turn out to be a pretty smooth tactic which satisfies most people. It all depends really whether other countries turn out to share the vision.

I don't understand the people who think that Britain's economy will improve if they leave the EU. The majority of their trade is still with Europe, so if they left they'd be in the same situation as Norway; economically dependent on Europe, but with no say at the negotiating table.

Fdzzaigl:
Britain is certainly not one of those netto-investors, far from it.

Nonsense.

The UK, even after the rebate, supplies a net contribution to the EU in the order of £7 billion. Without the rebate, it's about £11 billion.

Fdzzaigl:
It does all that with 1%, that's right, one single percent, of GNP per year. Besides that, certain countries (Scandinavian countries, Germany, Netherlands and a few others) are "netto-investors", meaning they put more money in than they would get back in terms of legislative work done.
Britain is certainly not one of those netto-investors, far from it.

The UK gets almost € 4 billion a year in farm subsidies alone.

Their net contribution over 2012 was € 8,8 billion, so merely over direct subsidies to farms, they get more than half of what they pay back. The UK contribution to the EU is extremely low compared to other countries, so it's likely they're among the ones who profit most.

Plus you need to incalculate indirect effects from the EU, like standardisation of rules and regulations, free trade, and pooling of resources, which are notoriously difficult to quantify. The think-tank of Dutch bank ING had a stab at that once, and they concluded that for an average Dutch citizen, one entire week out of their year's salary was due to secondary effects of the EU. That's a huge amount of money across a population of millions.

I'm american and don't know much about it, I'll probably read up on it today though. My view is it could be a bad thing, I mean aren't most of the UK's exports to the EU and couldn't that be affected by "renegotiating treaties".

I did look at some quick statistics on approval of it though and wow, there is steep opposition from joining the euro and further stepping in the EU fold. Whether it's good or bad doesn't matter at this point, if it's ever put up to a referendum it looks like EU membership would be sold out. I'm curious to know what the effects of leaving the EU vs staying in it are.

The Tory leaders may tend to avoid discourse over Europe, but the party is full of populist Eurosceptics.

The UK will not leave the EU. I get the impression that even Cameron & Co. know it's unthinkable to do so, and so he's put in an impossible situation by his own party & the Right Wing press that puts its faith in the Conservatives.

He wouldn't be in such a position if he hadn't pandered to such mindlessly populist issues in opposition. The issue can only go so far.

Britain leaving the EU is a product from fear mongering. It's not a really feasible option and as I recall the U.K kept it's currency. So why should it leave all the trade agreements and reduced tariffs for the transportation of goods and the ease of access in traveling?

More importantly:
Is Scotland going to leave the United Kingdom? Apparently there would be a vote in 2014.

Frission:
More importantly:
Is Scotland going to leave the United Kingdom? Apparently there would be a vote in 2014.

atm polling would suggest a "yes" vote is unlikely but political polling in Scotland is infamously unreliable and there will be people voting in that referendum who wouldn't even think of going to vote in normal circumstances.

personally i expect a high turn out and far more support for independence than is commonly thought to exist down south.
as to whether it would be enough...well we'll just have to wait and see i guess.

i might add that the prospect of not being part of the EU is wielded by ALL the unionist parties up here (including the torys) as a possible negative outcome of voting for independence so consider how it looks now that the rest of the UK may very well end up taking us out of it...

UPDATE: here are the demands from the "Fresh Start" group as released today.

Fresh Start Manifesto for Change launch - summary

Here are the main points from the Fresh Start manifesto launch. It was chaired by the Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, who answered most of the questions.

• The Fresh Start manifesto calls for five key treaty changes. The Daily Telegraph this morning identified four (see 9.06am), but Leadsom said the paper had "an old version" of the manifesto. Here are the five main proposal.

1. An emergency brake for any member state in financial services.

2. Repatriation to member states of the competence in social and employment law. Failing that a UK opt-out and emergency brake.

3. A UK opt-out from policing and criminal justice measures not already covered by block opt-out.

4. A new legal safeguard for the single market.

5. The abolition of the Strasbourg seat of the European parliament, the economic and social committee, and the committee of the regions.

It also calls for other changes that could be obtained without changes to the EU treaties.

• The manifesto says Britain should be willing to suspend treaty obligations in certain areas.

Where EU legislation threatens to cause significant harm in the context of UK practice, for example where patient safety in the NHS is put at risk, and appropriate reforms cannot be negotiated at the European level, the UK should consider unilaterally suspending the relevant obligations until a long-term solution can be negotiated.

Asked about this so-called "nuclear option", Leadsom said that treaties were supposed to deal with matters like war; instead Britain had EU treaty obligations dealing with "the length of a ladder or the shape of a banana". She said there were two areas where suspending treaties could be justified because of the threat to the national interest: the working time directive, which was damaging patient care in the NHS; and the combustion plant directive, which could force Britain to turn off power stations.

• The manifesto does not say when David Cameron should hold his proposed referendum. Leadsom said the document did not touch on this issue because members all had different views on it.

• William Hague, the foreign secretary, has described the document as a "well-considered document full of powerful ideas" that will influence the Conservative manifesto. This is what he says in the foreword.

I congratulate all my colleagues, their staff and others who helped put together Fresh Start's Manifesto for Change. It is a well-researched and well-considered document full of powerful ideas for Britain's future in Europe and, indeed, for Europe's future.

Many of the proposals are already government policy, some could well become future government or Conservative party policy and some may require further thought.

Europe is changing so fresh thinking is doubly welcome. It will be essential reading for all of us when we come to write the Conservative party's next general election manifesto. I warmly congratulate everyone involved.

Leadsom stressed that Hague was not endorsing the whole document.

• Leadsom stressed that the Fresh Start group wanted Britain to stay in the EU.

The Fresh Start manifesto is very clear. We want Britain to remain in the EU.

• She insisted that the demands in the document were acceptable to other EU countries.

We have tap-danced on our eyelashes to ensure that we have come up with a set of proposals that doesn't lead EU members to say: "Come on, you're not for real, these are completely ridiculous calls for action, we are not doing any of this".

Leadsom said that her talks with ambassadors from EU countries had convinced her that the rest of Europe did not want Britain to leave.

• She said that Britain had to be willing to leave the EU if it failed to achieve reform. But she insisted that this was "not a realistic proposition".

• She accepted that the Fresh Start group would not get everything it wanted in an EU renegotiation.

This is the ideal world [ie, the demands in the document]. In a negotiation, in the real world, you do not get everything you ask for. You might get something you don't ask for.

She insisted that the Conservative party was not divided over Europe. The Fresh Start group were not like the Maastricht rebels, she said, because the Fresh Start group represented mainstream opinion in the party, she said.

• She dismissed reports that there would not be a treaty renegotiation. (See the FT story at 10.22am for an example.) José Manuel Barroso, the commission president, has said there will be treaty changes, she said.

• She said that it was a coincidence that the Fresh Start manifesto was being published two days before Cameron's speech. The Fresh Start group originally planned to publish it at the end of 2012 so they would have the whole of 2013 to attract support for it in Europe, she said. She also pointed out that Cameron was originally meant to deliver his Europe speech in the autumn last year, at the Conservative party conference.

• She accused the media not reporting the views of European politicians in favour of treaty renegotiation. Instead the press only reported views from Europe suggesting renegotiation could harm Britain's interests or lead to Britain leaving the EU, she said.

• She said there was more support for treaty renegotiation in the EU than people realised. For example, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has launched his own balance of competences review based on the one happening in Britain because he wants to repatriate powers. "But that does not make good copy, so it does not get reported here," she said. Politicians in countries like Greece and Spain were particularly concerned about the impact of EU legislation on youth unemployment, she added.

She said an emergency brake on financial services was necessary because the City was under threat. Some 49 directives or measures were "coming down the pipeline" that could harm the financial services industry in London, she said. That was because centre-left opinion in the EU wrongly blamed "Anglo-Saxon-style capitalism" for the financial crisis. That was the wrong analysis, she insisted. In fact, too much borrowing was to blame.

• The Tory MP Dominic Raab, who contributed to the document, said that that opting out of EU law and order measures was sensible because "the overwhelming majority of EU crime and policing measures are utterly irrelevant to UK law enforcement".

as some context here's a piece from the FT less than 24 hours ago

EU nations turn back on UK renegotiations

David Cameron's expected push to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership in the EU faces a roadblock in Brussels, where sentiment has begun to turn against reopening the block's governing treaties.

As recently as late last year, senior EU officials were girding themselves for another clash over treaty changes, which Berlin was urging to enshrine new centralised budgetary scrutiny powers in the eurozone.

But EU leaders and officials now say such an initiative has moved to the back burner with EU lawyers determining that much of what needs to be done to create a eurozone banking union and a nascent federal eurozone budget could be accomplished within the current treaties.

"It may well be that treaty change may come for a variety of reasons further down the road, but as of now, I don't see an issue of opening treaty change for any individual country," said Enda Kenny, Irish prime minister, who took over the EU's rotating presidency this month.

Officials involved in treaty change discussions said Germany had not abandoned the desire to see more centralised control of national fiscal policies underpinned by treaty.

But because of stiff resistance from France, where ceding more sovereignty to Brussels on fiscal policy is controversial and could split President François Hollande's Socialist party, Berlin has decided to put off such debates until at least after next year's European Parliament elections.

"Nobody is calling for it," said one EU official briefed on treaty change discussions. "Not even Germany."

Another official involved in the discussions said Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was also wary of having treaty change come up during this year's Bundestag elections because Mr Hollande and allies in Italy were likely to call for sovereign debt pooling as the price of handing over more fiscal control to Brussels.

Such debt mutualisation - particularly through eurozone bonds - is anathema within Ms Merkel's governing coalition.

In any case, an easing of the crisis and an economic recovery in the eurozone could sap ambitions for contentious changes.

Without consensus within the EU on reopening treaties in the near future, Mr Cameron could find himself promising British voters a renegotiation process that may not happen for several years, if at all.

José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, last year suggested a timetable that would see a newly-elected European Parliament take up the issue in 2015, which would coincide with a newly chosen European Commission. But officials said that even under that timetable, negotiations would take years to complete, making it difficult for Mr Cameron to promise action.

"It just doesn't fit," said one senior EU official. "It just doesn't work within the UK's calendar."

In addition, there is reluctance among even Britain's closest EU allies to allow Mr Cameron to renegotiate membership by prising open the treaties, with many concerned it could open a Pandora's box where all 27 members seek similar new arrangements.

"If Cameron wants to win a referendum on a new relationship between the UK and EU ... what he's looking for is a deal that will never be acceptable to others," said the official. "You can't be both in and out."

While Mr Barroso advocated treaty change last year as a way to finalise a new fiscal and monetary union for the euro, Herman Van Rompuy, European Council president, is known to be more reluctant.

In recent days, Mr Van Rompuy has said publicly that there are disagreements over even what issues should be raised in any new treaty convention, a fact that made any renegotiations unlikely.

"For those ideas for which treaty change are needed, there is simply at this stage no consensus," Mr Van Rompuy said.

One person familiar with Mr Van Rompuy's thinking said big treaty changes were unlikely unless it was decided to move towards mutualising sovereign debts, making it unlikely even in the distant future.

"Treaty change is just so impossibly difficult and full of risk, especially in the current climate," the person said.

bear in mind "Europe" is kinda busy with serious shit right now.

personally...i think we're gonna get told to fuck off...or rather "go then!".

as the French president said recently "the EU is not an a la carte menu." and the rest of them really don't need to deal with the UKs self centred "demands" or the additional instability and uncertainty that full scale renegotiation of past treaties would inflict.

a few may back the UK in calls for reform in specific areas but imho i think the rest of them are just getting really pissed off with our crap...

They're lying about what Rutte said for one thing. Rutte even smashed on Cameron's/the British stance; Towards Dutch News he compared the British position with putting a loaded gun on the table at the start of the negotiations. He said the British attitude puts such pressure on negotiations that nothing can be achieved in that way.

Just because Rutte doesn't want to expand the EU budget doesn't mean he's hardcore anti-EU like those British conservatives. On the contrary, Rutte always struck me as fairly pro-EU. He's motivated and intelligent, progressive. Outside of being fairly right wing, Rutte is a political opposite of the British conservatives.

Blablahb:

Fdzzaigl:
It does all that with 1%, that's right, one single percent, of GNP per year. Besides that, certain countries (Scandinavian countries, Germany, Netherlands and a few others) are "netto-investors", meaning they put more money in than they would get back in terms of legislative work done.
Britain is certainly not one of those netto-investors, far from it.

The UK gets almost € 4 billion a year in farm subsidies alone.

Their net contribution over 2012 was € 8,8 billion, so merely over direct subsidies to farms, they get more than half of what they pay back. The UK contribution to the EU is extremely low compared to other countries, so it's likely they're among the ones who profit most.

You appear to be confusing net and gross. Net is contributions(debit)-credit while gross is total contributions on it's own. You've used a net figure which already includes the money coming back via farm subsidies and then decided to count them again :P

The figures from the latest ONS Pinkbook ((31st July 2012, figures through 2011, found here)Treasury payments only though other UK departments make payments themselves such as DIFID bypassing the treasury) show £7.46b in credits from the EU and £16.06b debits towards the EU

Blablahb:
The UK gets almost € 4 billion a year in farm subsidies alone.

Their net contribution over 2012 was € 8,8 billion, so merely over direct subsidies to farms, they get more than half of what they pay back. The UK contribution to the EU is extremely low compared to other countries, so it's likely they're among the ones who profit most.

That analysis is unfortunately rendered nonsense by your failure to understand what "net" means in "net contribution".

"Net" means after deductions, sort of like the 'end result'. The total amount that the UK gives the EU is called the "gross contribution". From this therefore we would subtract what the UK gets back (farm subsidies, development grants, rebate, etc.) to find the net contribution.

The only country that is a larger net contributor than the UK in absolute terms is Germany. In terms of net contribution per capita, the UK is roughly the seventh largest (it can fluctuate by year). Thus we must also conclude that the UK's contribution is not extremely low.

anyone know a good place for per country/per year figures in relation to the structural and cohesion funds ?

Sleekit:
anyone know a good place for per country/per year figures in relation to the structural and cohesion funds ?

Can't remember the link right now for EU outgoing but it should be on computer at work so I can pm/post it tomorrow. The UK's figures are in the ONS Pinkbook linked above.

Agema:

Blablahb:
The UK gets almost € 4 billion a year in farm subsidies alone.

Their net contribution over 2012 was € 8,8 billion, so merely over direct subsidies to farms, they get more than half of what they pay back. The UK contribution to the EU is extremely low compared to other countries, so it's likely they're among the ones who profit most.

That analysis is unfortunately rendered nonsense by your failure to understand what "net" means in "net contribution".

"Net" means after deductions, sort of like the 'end result'. The total amount that the UK gives the EU is called the "gross contribution". From this therefore we would subtract what the UK gets back (farm subsidies, development grants, rebate, etc.) to find the net contribution.

The only country that is a larger net contributor than the UK in absolute terms is Germany. In terms of net contribution per capita, the UK is roughly the seventh largest (it can fluctuate by year). Thus we must also conclude that the UK's contribution is not extremely low.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_the_European_Union

Myeah, it totally depends on whether you look per capita or in absolute terms or even in percentages of GDP. Which is the fairest view? That can be discussed. Should you compare the UK to small countries, or to its larger peers like France and Germany?

The UK isn't the worst of the bunch, that definitely goes to the newer member states (obviously), but I personally wouldn't call it stellar either.

Finally, counting subsidies and expendetures is one thing, counting the value of a more or less unified market and product legislation, or the value of moral legislation and the world representation value is another.

But as said before, if the UK really wants to keep on to the one-sided negative views often expressed in its tabloids and get out, maybe it might even be best for the entire project.

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