Britain leaving the EU ?

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Hah, it is never going to happen. Despite what the Right-wing tabloids say, most people, if it came down to a yes-no answer only, would vote to stay. They know that leaving would cause catastrophic economic damage from over half of all British trade suddenly being charged import tax and tariffs and we would plunge back into a recession probably even deeper than in 2008/09. The fact that we still have to abide by a lot of their legislation to have any kind of close trading relationship would make it pointless to leave when we could be staying as a key member, influencing eventual laws.

Anyway, all this talk about having a meaningful discussion with the EU about renegotiating powers is doomed to failure because the EU works along the lines of "quid pro quo" - if we want something back,we have to compromise and agree to give them something in return. If we demand repatriation of powers, what's stopping the EU from effectively saying "No, go stuff yourselves"? They know that we'll be bluffing if we say we'll leave if nothing is done, and if we do want something we can't go full Thatcher and shout and sulk at them until they give us what we want.

I just think its more likely at this stage that Europe will kick us out for getting completing fed up with Britain constantly going on about unfair laws and powers. Cameron's position as trying to be pro-EU but at the same time having to take a harder line on powers to satisfy Eurosceptics is both annoying Europe and splitting his party in two. This idea of a speech is just something to throw to the backbenches; even if a referendum comes up and people vote for more powers/ to lave the EU nothing will really come of it (just like Ireland having to do a 2nd referendum to try to force its people to agree to a treaty change a few years back).

With the economic situation as it is, you'd hope that the Tory leadership would be trying to further economic ties to France and Germany to improve the economy instead of trying to distance themselves from anything to do with Europe. Trading with the BRIC countries is all well and good and should be improved, but with Europe on Britain's doorstep we can't afford to try and isolate ourselves. Or convince ourselves we can have our cake and eat it by demanding economic privileges without the political ties that come with them.

Wait, the UK was in the EU? I thought they couldn't be in the EU in the first place because they wouldn't adopt the Euro?

And for that matter, why would they? Not to be insulting or anything, I mean, have you guys seen the exchange rate for UK Pounds to... I think every other currency currently in existance? Almost makes me want to move there.

Spartan448:
Wait, the UK was in the EU? I thought they couldn't be in the EU in the first place because they wouldn't adopt the Euro?

And for that matter, why would they? Not to be insulting or anything, I mean, have you guys seen the exchange rate for UK Pounds to... I think every other currency currently in existance? Almost makes me want to move there.

THe UK, Ireland and Denmark joined (what is now) the EU in 1973. The Euro was made in the Maastricht treaty in 1992. Denmark and the UK decided to stay out of the common currency while Sweden decided just not to meet the necessary requirements to join (i.e. the Swedish government could join without asking the people). Furthermore a lot of the newly joined members haven't yet met the requirements to join the Euro.

There is right now 17 countries that uses Euro, and 27 (soon 28) members of the EU.

Second...Having a high exchange rate is not necessarily a sign of a good economy. It just shows that there is a high demand of the currency relative to the supply. So the US could remove half of the Dollars, that would divide all the prices (and wages) in the US by 2 and double the exchange rates.

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.

Do you know how much, on average, how much the UK net contributions are in comparison to what money is directly given back, such as the already mentioned farm subsidies?

If the UK did leave the EU, would the UK have a surplus, even if they directly paid for what ever the EU was giving back, or would they have a deficit? I am not saying it is a good or bad idea for them to leave the EU, it is a fun thought experiment if the UK would be fine alone, just like thinking about if Texas would be a viable nation if it left the Union.

Britain leaving the EU is one of the stupidest decisions the government could make (and that's saying something, especially if we include the previous governments right back to the establishment of the Common Market). Economically it would be pretty devastating - even if it turned out that we would save money by leaving the EU (because money paid to the EU outweighs returns) the country would be screwed because of the change to import and export tariffs - the EU is our major trading partner after all (and it is not like we could make up for the trade-shortfall elsewhere, given that we already trade with many countries internationally).

Hell, what better time to have Cameron, in charge of a highly-rebellious Euro-sceptic party (who are angry at Cameron's decisions over gay marriage and other such anti-Tory views), to make a statement about this - it is not like we are facing the possibility of a triple-dip recession or anything is it?

I think that the UK needs to become more greatly integrated within Europe. Our government and people constantly moan about the lack of power (and stupid judicial rulings, many of which are from the ECHR which is a completely separate body from the EU, and thus is a separate topic altogether, and something the UK itself is primarily responsible for setting up). However, is it any surprise that we lack the degree of clout we desire when we say "my way or the highway" so often, and disrupt EU negotiations because one small facet doesn't go our way? If we became more integrated we would have far more weight within the EU itself - look at what a powerhouse Germany is, thanks to our economy (even though it is in the toilet at the moment) we could rival them in terms of "unofficial leadership" of the EU - surely that should appeal far more to the "little Englanders" of the Tory party than an out-dated concept of isolationism and "Rule Britannia"?

Many apologies for the rant - I have just watched last week's Question Time and Nadine Dorries really, really annoys me (and this subject did not get nearly enough air-time, though I am not surprised as it is going to be a major discussion in the coming weeks).

Fdzzaigl:

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?

Pointless waffle. The UK can be demonstrated to pay its way decently under any useful comparison.

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.

Yes indeed, you might describe the UK's EU contributions as "not stellar", as it is not at or very close to the top. However, being in the top quartile of net contributors is so far from "the worst of the bunch" that you would more usefully describe it as as being amongst the best of the bunch.

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.

This is very much the core of the debate. Few (useful) estimates exist for the value that the UK - and many other countries - get from the single market. Also bear in mind that the UK potentially incurs costs from regulations that the EU demands that the UK might otherwise not have, for which useful estimates don't really exist either (not that that stops the British right-wing press trumpeting bad ones).

However, you also have to bear something else important. Some 20-25% of the UK economy is trade, of which Europe accounts for around half. In other words, around 10% of the UK economy is highly EU-based. The Netherlands, in contrast, has 40-50% of its economy as trade, of which way over half is within the EU - so let's say that the Netherlands has 30% of its economy highly EU-dependent. Thus the trade benefits from EU membership are proportionally much smaller for the UK than they are for many or most other EU countries. Many Britons such as I still think leaving is a bad idea (on many levels, not just economic), but neither is it such an obvious case as it for many EU countries.

Not G. Ivingname:

Do you know how much, on average, how much the UK net contributions are in comparison to what money is directly given back, such as the already mentioned farm subsidies?

If the UK did leave the EU, would the UK have a surplus, even if they directly paid for what ever the EU was giving back, or would they have a deficit? I am not saying it is a good or bad idea for them to leave the EU, it is a fun thought experiment if the UK would be fine alone, just like thinking about if Texas would be a viable nation if it left the Union.

No, I don't know a precise breakdown of the UK's payments and receipts to the EU. All I know is that gross contributions are around 20 billion a year, the net is about 7 billion (it fluctuates by year), and therefore of the 13 billion the UK is getting back, about 3-4 billion (also fluctuating) is the "rebate".

Farm subsidies (Common Agricultural Policy; CAP) are approaching 50% of the EU budget, so we might assume at most half that 13 billion are farm subsidies, although it will be much less as I explain below.

The rebate was negotiated in the 80s and is unique to the UK - it exists in relation to the CAP, from which the UK generally gets proportionally far less than most other EU countries as its agricultural sector is both relatively small and highly efficient. In the 80s, the CAP was a far larger fraction of the EU budget (about 70%), and the UK's economic woes of the 70s & 80s meant the UK's GDP per capita was lower than many of the countries it was de facto subsidising. Thus the UK's EU contributions were deemed highly excessive (particularly by the British!) and the rebate was negotiated.
As the CAP has proportionally declined, the rebate has shrunk also.

Do you mean a government surplus? No, leaving the EU wuld not put the UK in surplus. The net EU contribution amounts to just over 1% of the UK government budget (0.4% GDP). On the other hand, we could argue it's pretty much the full 20 billion (3%) that could potentially be saved by the government, on the grounds that most of what the EU passes back to the UK does not go to the UK government. Mind you, the UK might spend that money on the same sorts of things (agricultural subsidies, regional development, etc.) anyway.

The real problem with these calculations is how much the UK benefits from access to the European single market, or more specifically (as it would remain an associate non-member of the single market even if it left the EU) what benefits exist from the UK being able to influence how the EU ran the single market.

I would suggest that outside the economic sphere, leaving the EU would be the most catastrophic event for the UK's political influence, and at a global level, since the Suez Crisis.

Agema:

However, you also have to bear something else important. Some 20-25% of the UK economy is trade, of which Europe accounts for around half. In other words, around 10% of the UK economy is highly EU-based. The Netherlands, in contrast, has 40-50% of its economy as trade

Just out of curiosity I would like to ask you where you found this number.

AlotFirst:

Agema:

However, you also have to bear something else important. Some 20-25% of the UK economy is trade, of which Europe accounts for around half. In other words, around 10% of the UK economy is highly EU-based. The Netherlands, in contrast, has 40-50% of its economy as trade

Just out of curiosity I would like to ask you where you found this number.

There is no easy single source (or not one I know), but it is all easily Googleable. Just search to discover a) the size of a country's economy, b) the value of its exports, c) who it exports to, and then apply mathematics.

I don't mind being in the EU, particularly for the trade aspect...

What I do mind is unmitigated immigration...

Well, they're getting really desperate to win over UKIP voters now. Cameron has pledged to offer an In/Out referendum if his party wins the next election.

In totally unrelated news, I've decided to vote for Scottish Independence.

I like what Martin Schulz (president of EU parlement) said in regards to the EU Speach. If you anounce a referendum after the elections then you care about the elections and not about the referendum.

Prince Regent:
I like what Martin Schulz (president of EU parlement) said in regards to the EU Speach. If you anounce a referendum after the elections then you care about the elections and not about the referendum.

He's also the secretary general of the European socialist party, in most countries it's generally regarded as a dick move to leave political mess to the next guy, no country in the world especially a multi-party parliamentary democracy would ever start something this politically charged before the elections, regardless if it's just to cover their ass or not.

Verbatim:

Prince Regent:
I like what Martin Schulz (president of EU parlement) said in regards to the EU Speach. If you anounce a referendum after the elections then you care about the elections and not about the referendum.

He's also the secretary general of the European socialist party, in most countries it's generally regarded as a dick move to leave political mess to the next guy, no country in the world especially a multi-party parliamentary democracy would ever start something this politically charged before the elections, regardless if it's just to cover their ass or not.

If you announce a referendum after the election, you've already started it. And sometimes a mess does get left over to the next guy, most often because that next guy has been a loud critic of you and has won the next election, and then he gets the chance to prove he's much better than you.

Of course, leaving a mess to the next guy on purpose is a dick move without exception.

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