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Reasons to Stay:

by Nick Hopkinson, Chair of LDEG



Only one party stands up for a better European Union with the UK a part of it.

Millions of jobs outside of the EU (Liberal Democrats, UK)Be part of that change. www.ldeg.org.uk

The Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG) strongly supports the UK's continued EU membership:

  • 1. Jobs:

  • as part of the world's largest single market, UK firms can export freely to more than 500 million people in the EU. The EU provides a 4-5% per annum benefit to UK GDP. 10% of UK jobs (3.1 million) directly depend on our membership in the EU (CBI, 2013 and UK Treasury, June 2014). 60% of non-UK financial firms are based in London because the UK is an EU member. 1,600 Japanese companies have invested in UK because we have unfettered access to the EU single market. For example, UK car manufacturers export 80% of their production of which 61% goes to the EU market. Outside the EU, our access to the single EU market would be impaired by tariff and non-tariff barriers, and foreign investment (and jobs) in the UK would gradually decline because corporate profit margins would be eroded, if not eliminated.
  • 2. Trade:

  • as part of the EU, the UK benefits from better trade deals which generates more jobs and direct investment. Each UK household is better off by £3.000 per annum (CBI, 2013). If the UK left the EU, we would not benefit from existing and potential EU free trade arrangements with the US, Japan and rising economies. Alone the UK, as the world's ninth largest economy with only 2% of global GDP, would have less weight in international negotiations with major economies, including the EU (to which we export 45% of our exports but receive only 7% of EU 27 total exports).
  • 3. Influence in Europe:

  • as part of the EU, the UK is able to influence decision making in Brussels. The UK influences and agrees all EU legislation through the participation of our elected ministers in the EU Council and elected members in the European Parliament. If the UK is not at the table, we cannot influence EU decisions. Outside the EU we would have to adopt most EU Single Market regulations anyway as non-members like Norway and Switzerland know. Switzerland in particular has to negotiate time-consuming, bureaucratic and sub-optimal ad hoc deals. Furthermore, if Norway and Switzerland want access to the large Single European Market, they still have to pay into the EU budget. Any cost budgetary cost savings from leaving the EU would be immaterial, but the macro-economic cost would not!
  • 4. Free movement:

  • Free movement of labour, capital, goods and services throughout the EU benefits the UK. Free movement of people is part of the package of four EU freedoms along with free movement of capital, goods and services. Even a non-member like Norway has to accept free movement if it wants access to the EU Single Market. If we wanted to restrict free movement of people, would we want to see restrictions on our export of goods and services to elsewhere in the EU? EU workers living in the UK help fill skills gaps, eg the NHS would collapse without them. EU nationals in the UK come here to work - only 2.7% of those claiming UK job seekers allowance were other 27 EU member state nationals (DSS). Two and a half million UK nationals live elsewhere in the EU and our expatriates benefit from the ability to work in, study, and access health and other services offered by other EU states
  • 5. Peace & Human Rights:

  • the UK benefits from the EU's contribution to building peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights across Europe (for which the EU was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize). The EU has contributed to peace in Europe for 56 years. It supported Spain and Greece in their transitions from dictatorship to democracy. The EU, with the UK in the lead, helped transform Communist Central European countries into democracies resulting in the reunification of Europe. Armed conflict between any EU state is now unthinkable.
  • 6. Justice & Protection:

  • the EU promotes justice, consumer protection, social values and helps curb climate change. EU arrest warrants and cross border policing help combat international crime and terrorism, which the UK cannot tackle alone. EU regulation is curbing banking excesses, customer rip offs (eg the EU has reduced mobile phone roaming charges and made air travel cheaper), and curbs tax avoidance. EU social legislation provides for more holidays, equal pay and a safer working environment. The UK cannot combat climate change alone !

Eurosceptics say they want their country back. Liberal Democrats want to take our country forward !

Nick HopkinsonNick Hopkinson

Chair, Liberal Democrat European Group

For further information, contact Nick at chair@ldeg.org.uk