June 14, 2006

The EU costs

According to Civitas
the net cost of remaining in the EU ranges from the ‘rock-bottom’ estimate of £17.6 billion to the ‘most likely’ of £40 billion
These figures assume that we just left the EU and nothing else. However the EU also prevents the UK from many potentially good opportunities. Such as in 2003 when
a Bill was introduced in the Senate that would have created a free-trade agreement between the two countries. Alas, Blair had to decline this, shamefacedly (I’d like to think) having to point out that this country had no right to negotiate international trade agreements.
Free trade with the USA is not the only area that Britain could have been trying for, free trade agreements with fast growing Brazil, India, or China might have been possible where we not in the EU. Or Africa, allowing us cheaper food, and the African nations a way to build up their economies. But instead Britain is shackling to the slowly sinking states of old Europe and is impoverishing Africa thanks to the EU's CAP.

Estimating the costs of these lost opportunities can lead to total figures such for the cost of being in the EU that are truly horrendous.
when one adds on the costs described earlier to the opportunity costs, the current recurring annual net cost to the UK of EU membership is ten percent of GDP, or approximately £100 billion per year at present levels of UK GDP.
this from a newsletter in 2004, so the numbers will probably have gone up since then. That rather makes the 20 billion that Mr Hague claims that the UK gets from the common market seem rather insignificant. If it exists at all, the Civitas report also notes that
the Bundesbank could find no evidence that it [the single market] has helped German trade. The UK economy is unlikely to be any different.
But at least the EU is going to allow us to connect to the internet, all the years of whistling down the phone line, reconstructing images on graph paper, and then carefully typesetting them on the old Linotype machine will be over.


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