Economic Decline, Bureaucracy and Interference
The European Union is most definitely in relative if not actual economic decline. According to a report by the European Commission, Global Europe 2050, the EU accounted in 2000 for 25% of world economic output. However, by 2050 its share of global GDP will be "as low as 15%". The EU’s own report goes on to say that "by 2050, Europe’s share of global economic product may be lower than it was before the onset of industrialisation, hardly a trend leading toward global economic dominance".
There are many faux claims about the supposed benefits of EU membership. The growing unemployment queues across the continent tell a markedly different story.
One myth is that membership is required for trade and to access the EU’s internal market. But this ignores the fact that the EU has 45 free trade agreements with other nations around the globe.
There are also other nations in Europe that are not in the EU but belong instead to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). These are amongst the most prosperous countries on the continent and benefit the most from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the direct business investment by overseas companies which is a good indicator of an economy’s health.
Evidence from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shows both that the EU is suffering from a shortage of FDI and that the EFTA states benefit from being outside the EU. In terms of FDI counted in US dollars per capita, it is clear that membership of EFTA benefits its members far more than membership of the EU.
The cost of the EU is ruinously high. The UK’s gross payments in the 2014/15 financial year will reach more than £18.7 billion with a net contribution, less the rebate and EU spending in Britain, totalling nearly £9.37 billion per year.
This is not the only cost. Both Oxfam and the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimate that the Common Agricultural Policy costs the average family around €1,000 per year.
However, at the very heart of the costs of the EU to its members is the excessive regulation that is imposed in order to construct European governance. Günter Verhuegen, as Vice-President of the European Commission, estimated that the annual cost of EU regulation across the EU amounted to €600 billion per annum (around 5.5% of GDP).
The rules of the European Union codified in the EU treaties prevent national democratic procedures, whether by votes in Parliament or by referenda, from amending let alone abolishing a single one of these legal measures.
This complete body of EU law is known as the acquis communitaire and runs to more than 170,000 pages of active legislation in force, with over 100,000 EU rules, international agreements and legal acts binding on or affecting citizens across the EU.
This body of law is added to at the rate of around 3,000 new pieces of legislation each year. How many of Britain’s new laws originate or are influenced by the EU?
A study by the House of Commons Library found that more than 50% of the UK’s new laws come from Brussels or are influenced by the requirements to adopt EU rules. What is more, the British Parliament has to impose criminal sanctions if an EU law has been contravened. This is legislation over which the democratic institutions of the UK have little influence.
Britain is quite clearly better off out.