Europhiles: Spin when you're not winning

Whichever way you look at the spin coming from the latest ComRes poll, it shows the EU enthusiasts are getting desperate

by Tim Aker on 27 November 2012 14:11

Pro-Europeans are lauding a poll today from ComRes that shows an even split between those who want to leave and those who want to remain in the EU. They see this as a reason to think they could win an EU Referendum and this is before Tony Blair begins his campaign to become the first directly elected EU President.

When the same poll asked about leaving the EU but keeping trading links, however, 54 percent would like to leave the EU.

I don’t know why EU enthusiasts are cheering this, the facts show that the EU can’t afford to lose its trading links with the UK. When we leave the EU, we will maintain our trading links but be outside political union.

We’re the EU’s biggest trading partner; they sell more to us than we do to it. Furthermore, half our trade with the EU is in services and other areas where tariffs do not apply. Even if they did apply tariffs, they’d be in breach of WTO rules.

Only 10 percent of our GDP is involved in any way with the EU. Half of that is trade in goods with the EU. Why, therefore, should EU standards and laws apply to 100 percent of our economy?

British businesses, particularly small businesses, should be able to recognise EU standards when they trade with the EU. Yet harmonisation, the compulsory Europeanisation of terms of trade, forces unnecessary costs on businesses that have no trading relationship with the EU, sending too many to the wall.

The article also suggests that EU enthusiasts will need to spin that leaving the EU will be bad for trade. This, again, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Norway and Switzerland both send more goods per capita to the EU than we do. Under provisions in the Lisbon Treaty, the EU is compelled to engage in free and fair trade with its neighbours and the wider community. The EU itself is busily engaged in negotiating free trade agreements with ‘third countries’. Why can’t the UK be in the same position?

I often hear the EU enthusiasts say that if we left the EU we wouldn’t have a say in EU standards, but would have to abide by them. On two counts this is fallacious.

First, outside the EU we’d be able to retake our seat at the World Trade Organisation and have a direct say on global standards of trade. Currently the EU has our seat at the WTO.

Second, when the EU trades with other countries, it has no say in their standards. When we trade with America, for example, it would be crazy to demand the UK elects Senators and Representatives in order to have a say on American standards. So why bother sending ineffective MEPs and Commissioners to the EU?

There is no reason to believe the UK cannot have a free trade agreement with the EU outside political union. Those that trade with the EU will need to recognise EU standards, just as they will need to recognise British standards. But we will be in a position to strip away barmy EU laws on working time, the environment, renewable energy, landfill, migration, welfare – i.e. all the areas the EU has crept into and claimed as its own.

We can clearly have a trade based relationship with the EU, like the one being negotiated between Japan and the EU. We could have a bilateral, voluntary relationship that Switzerland has. Or we could negotiate a new deal outside the EU, a British way.

Whichever way you look at it, the spin coming from this one poll shows the EU enthusiasts are getting desperate. We are one day closer to leaving the European Union. We will Get Britain Out.

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