The following ten myths about the European Union and Britain as well as the reality of the situation in each case is set out below:
MYTH 1. Britain would lose out on 3 millions of jobs if we left the EU.
FACT: We buy more from the EU than we sell, over 4 million jobs in the EU depend on trade with the UK. The UK is the biggest customer of the EU – we buy more than even the USA. In 2011 there was a UK trade deficit of £28 billions with the EU.
MYTH 2. Tariff barriers will exclude us from trade with the EU.
FACT: The EU has free trade agreements with 53 countries to overcome such tariffs, and is negotiating a further 74. Even the Lisbon Treaty requires the EU to make a trade agreement with a nation that leaves the EU.
MYTH 3. Britain cannot survive economically outside the EU in a world of trading blocs.
FACT: Major economies such as Japan (the world’s third largest) are not in a trading bloc. Our best trading relationships are not within the EU, but outside, with countries like the USA and Switzerland. The EU has been useless with our traditional trading partners – the Commonwealth with which the EU only has a free trade agreement with just one of the 53 other member states.
MYTH 4. The EU is moving towards the UK’s position on cutting regulation and bureaucracy.
FACT: The EU already has more control over how we are allowed to conduct our lives than our own elected Government and constantly seeks to increase it. Once in place, EU directives are highly unlikely to be reformed or repealed. Less than 15% of Britain’s GDP represents trade with the EU yet Brussels regulations afflict 100% of our economy. In 2010, Open Europe estimated EU regulation had cost Britain £124 billion since 1998.
MYTH 5. If we leave, we’ll have to pay the EU billions and implement all its regulations without a say.
FACT: We have little say within the EU, and from 1st January 2014, the EU ended the requirement of unanimity for decisions by the Council of Ministers replaced by ‘qualified majority voting’. Now, we have only 8.4% of voting power in the EU. The UK would have more leverage as an independent sovereign nation and the world’s 6th largest economy. In 2009, Norway’s total financial contribution linked to their EEA (European Economic Area) agreement was some 340 million Euros per year, a tiny fraction of the gross annual cost that Britain must pay for EU membership – now £18.5 billion, or over £50 million a day
MYTH 6. The EU has brought peace to the European continent.
FACT: It is NATO, founded in 1949 and dominated by the USA, and not the EU, that has actually kept the peace in Europe, together with parliamentary democracy. Both are being undermined by the EU by unaccountable and unelected EU Commissioners and bureaucrats.
MYTH 7. The EU has a positive impact on the British economy.
FACT: ‘Free movement’ of cheap labour irrefutably leads to higher youth unemployment (we already have a million youth unemployed). Industries like fishing, farming, postal services and manufacturing have been devastated by our membership of the EU which costs billions of pounds and large numbers of lost jobs thanks to red tape, substantial membership and aid contributions and other costs. Small and medium sized businesses continue to be particularly badly affected by meddling EU regulations and directives.
MYTH 8. We’ll lose foreign investment if we leave the EU.
FACT: In a 2010 survey on UK’s attractiveness to foreign investors, Ernst and Young found Britain remained the top Foreign Direct Investment destination in Europe thanks to the City of London and the UK’s relationship with the US. The UK is the world’s 6th largest economy, 8th largest manufacturer, 5th largest trading nation, London is world’s largest financial centre, and the UK is the EU’s biggest client.
MYTH 9. We will lose influence in the world by being outside the EU
FACT: Britain has a substantial ‘portfolio of power’: membership of the G20 and G8 Nations, a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and seats on the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors and World Trade Organisation. We are at the heart of the 54-nation Commonwealth, and the world’s 5th biggest trading nation.
MYTH 10. Legally, we can’t leave the EU.
FACT: Britain could leave the EU in a single day by repealing the European Communities Act 1972 and its attendant Amendment Acts through a single clause Bill passing through Westminster. A replacement UK/EU Free Trade Agreement would not need time-consuming negotiation on tariff reductions if it merely replicated existing EU trade arrangements. Only UKIP will do this, and return control of the British government to the British people.