In my last article I spoke about the benefits to the UK remaining in the EU. And in the interest of balance (and the fact that this is a very topical matter as there is to be a vote on whether we as British citizens wish to remain in the EU) in this article I wish to go over some of the reasons for why it would be beneficial to leave the European Union.
The key benefit, often put forward as the key argument for the leave side, to leaving the EU would be that the UK parliament would fully gain back national sovereignty. At the moment it is the case that some of the decisions regarding the direction (most crucially the laws) of our country are not made in the UK Parliament, but in Brussels, where the key institutions of the EU are based. These include the EU Commission, the EU Parliament and the EU Council. By parting ways from the EU we would be able to have full control over, for instance, our trading policy. Currently we have to agree our trade policy with twenty-seven other states – meaning that we might not always get the result which serves our best interests on the matter.
In tandem with this, we would be able to reassert direct control over our immigration policy. A founding principle of the European Union is the free movement of people between countries and so every state which signs up to become a member has to sign up to this ideal and relax their borders to the citizens of the other member states. By leaving, we would more easily be able to change the openness of our borders depending upon the circumstances.
We would also be able to scrap the many, many regulations the European Union has issued to date on every day products, which some say make it far more difficult for entrepreneurs to set up and run companies efficiently, which in turn reduces production and economic growth. Others argue that many of these regulations are entirely necessary. For instance, it is surely a good thing that there are regulations ensuring high levels of food safety, that animals are properly cared for and that workers aren’t put in unnecessary danger in the workplace. However, those on the leave side of the debate would argue there’s nothing to stop us deciding to keep some of the more sensible regulations, whilst dropping the ones which we deem unnecessary.
Leaving the EU would also mean that we would no longer have to give the European Union a hefty sum of money as part of our membership (last year we contributed £12.9 billion). This money could then be used to build more schools and hospitals. Though, some argue that if we wanted to establish a free-trade deal with the European Union after leaving it (which we almost certainly would) then we would have to pay a certain amount in contributions to it anyway, as Norway does. On the other hand, we might not have to contribute as much money as we currently do.
Image: By THOR (Summer Sky in Southsea England) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons