Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten months, you’ll be aware that tomorrow is the day where all 18+ citizens of Britain will be heading to their local polling station to vote in whether Britain should remain in the EU or leave. This is such a huge decision for Britain, especially considering the EU is a huge part of our society whether you realise it or not and the impact of this referendum is gonna hit us all, regardless of the result.
I’ve already made up my mind and I’m voting ‘remain’ so I thought I’d explain why I’m voting to remain. I also try to balance the arguments I feel are the most important to me and show why I’m voting to remain.
Before I begin though, I highly suggest you check out my friend, Charlie’s website that he’s also constructed to help people like you and me learn about what the EU and the referendum mean – www.understandingthe.eu. It’s amazeballs.
What is the EU?
The EU (or European Union if you don’t like abbreviations) is essentially 28 signatory states (countries who have agreed to be part of the EU) who’s governments are all united together. It’s a two way street – the countries have to agree to follow certain rules but in return, they get benefits and perks. The United Kingdom joined the EU in 1973 and since then it has grown a lot.
Why was the EU created?
The EU routed from the creation of the ‘European Economic Community’ in 1957 thanks to the signing of the Treaty of Rome. The whole purpose of this grouping of countries was, in short, to prevent any further wars between the countries. It aimed to do this by reducing the chance of conflict by encouraging economic cooperation between the countries, which would in turn make them interdependent.
What does the EU do?
As I mentioned above, the EU creates rules and regulations which the signatory states have to abide by. The EU is ran by four institutions that work together: the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Council and the Court of Justice. The EU also made it easier to live, work and travel within the EU. The single or ‘internal’ market also enables goods, services, money and people to move freely.
What is EU law?
The EU has two forms of law: primary (treaties) and secondary (regulations and directives). Treaties automatically become part of English law, even if they are not directly enacted into English law via an Act of Parliament. Regulations also automatically become law. Directives, however, must be incorporated into English law via our government passing an Act of Parliament for the directive to be law. EU law takes precedent over national law, meaning any laws passed by our Parliament are not supreme.
The EU has provided the UK with lots of legislation, from small issues to major issues. For example, the EU gave us the footings for the Equality Act 2010, allowing us to have equal treatment at work regardless of religion, disability, age or sexual orientation.
What are the pros of the UK’s EU membership?
✓ The EU provides the UK with the single market that allows us to import and export goods to other EU countries without any costs. The single market also provides the UK with the ability to help decide on trading rules.
✓ Although the UK has to abide by EU rules, it has a place within EU Parliament and allows the UK to partake in discussions on law and enables the UK to have a bigger voice within world politics.
✓ Under EU law, Britain gets the ability to travel, live and work in any EU country. 1.4 million Britons live in the EU. The EU also allows for our UK driving licences to be valid in EU countries.
✓ Millions of jobs are linked to our EU membership – estimated up to 4 million jobs rely on the EU.
✓ EU membership reduces the time and warrants needed to arrest criminals when they flee to EU countries. Without the EU, there would be complicated extradition procedures for getting criminals back to the UK to face justice.
✓ The EU has one of the largest economy markets in the world, accounting for 25%. As a member, the UK has access to this market. It is also the biggest trading partner for the UK – 45% exports from the EU and 50% imports from the EU.
✓ The EU provides us with a lot of our workers rights. These include: regulated working hours and break times; four weeks of guaranteed annual leave; four months paid parental leave; extra protection for pregnant workers; anti-discrimination laws (as mentioned above); and protection for workers when companies change ownership.
✓ The EU banned animal testing and improved animal welfare standards across all signatory states.
What are the cons of the UK’s EU membership?
✗ The membership fee cost the UK a total of £8.6bn in 2015 – 7% of what the UK spent on the NHS.
✗ As mentioned above, the UK Parliament are not supreme – EU law overrules UK law.
✗ Very little people know about who is in charge of the EU. Everybody should know about who runs the UK, but can you honestly say who runs the EU? I mean, I studied EU law for an entire year at degree level and I still have no idea.
✗ Under EU law, Britain cannot prevent anyone from another member state coming to live in the country. However, there are conditions for moving to the UK from an EU state for more than three months, i.e. must be a qualified status (worker, student etc).
✗ The EU imposes some restrictions on what trade deals the signatory states can pursue with non-EU countries, i.e. India, China and the US.
What would happen if we left the EU?
- We would automatically save £8.6bn a year from not paying membership costs.
- We could potentially have to pay to leave the EU – if you’re confused, think of Zayn leaving 1D.
- We could potentially lose access to the single market and the ability to negotiate on trading rules.
- We could be able to join the single market (like Norway has) without being bound by EU laws. But doing this would essentially mean we’d pay for the benefits but have no say. The costs could also be 94% of the price we already pay for full membership. If you’re confused, think of it like buying a gym membership but off-peak for 94% of the price in comparison to a complete membership.
- We could focus more on home grown products and manufacturing more products within the UK.
- There is a fear that mass manufacturers would limit, or even terminate, production within the UK due to the uncertainty over tax-free trading with the EU.
- Although we wouldn’t be bound by EU rules, we’d still be bound by Nato, United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, so the UK still wouldn’t have absolute sovereignty.
In other words, nobody actually knows what will happen if we leave the EU as we’ll be the first country to leave. There is a lot of uncertainty with what could happen if we left.
All I can say further is just check out www.understandingthe.eu for more detailed and more in-depth information. It’s also unbiased too!
I am in no way an EU expert. I did a year of EU law but all I pretty much understood of that was what laws are implemented into the UK so any information given in this post is things I have researched and I can give references to all my facts so please don’t comment saying I know nothing – I know a little, but not a lot, like the rest of the UK population.