Sunday

19th Feb 2017

EU membership offers UK 'economic benefits'

  • London: Does opting out of the EU mean missing out? (Photo: @Doug88888)

EU membership has delivered "appreciable economic benefits" for the UK, according to assessment reports published on Monday (22 July).

A report on the EU's single market said that it had "brought to the EU, and hence to the UK, in most if not all observers’ opinions, appreciable economic benefits" and had "spread the UK’s liberal model of policy-making more widely across the EU."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"A broad consensus that [the single market] is at the core of the EU’s development, that it has driven growth and prosperity in the member states, and that it should continue to do so. All this means that the single market could once again be more at the centre of European political debate, which could open up opportunities for Britain," it added.

But it noted that single market regulation had created "a regulatory framework which some find difficult to operate within or find burdensome."

The review of the EU's single market is one of the first six reports of the so-called 'balance of competences' review launched in July 2012 by foreign secretary William Hague.

Their findings were based on over 500 individual submissions. A further 26 separate reports are expected to be published between now and autumn 2014.

The reports are likely to form the basis for any re-negotiation of the UK's EU membership. Earlier this year, prime minister David Cameron outlined plans to seek further opt-outs and derogations followed by an 'in/out' referendum if his Conservative party wins the next election.

Meanwhile, the report on health policy expressed concern that non-health legislation, such as the controversial working time directive - which regulated hours worked per week - could have a negative impact on the UK's national health service.

They also insisted that any changes to EU tax policy should be decided by unanimity rather than a qualified majority vote.

The reports on development aid and foreign policy also offered qualified support for EU action, noting that "the close alignment of UK and EU development objectives… mean the EU can act as a multiplier for the UK’s policy priorities and influence."

In a statement, Hague commented that the reports "bring together in one place evidence from across the spectrum to provide an accurate and detailed picture of the impact that the European Union has on our everyday lives."

These reports make a valuable contribution not only to the debate in this country but also to the debate taking place in other European nations about the future of the EU,” he added.

However, Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence party which seeks British withdrawal from the EU, accused the government of being "disingenuous", describing the review as "a futile and cynical PR exercise."

He claimed that 400 new laws had come into effect since the coalition government was formed in 2010, costing British businesses £626 million a year.

Analysis

Listening to Britain on EU reform

'Listening' was the watchword of William Hague's speech at the Koenigswinter conference last Friday, an understated - and welcome - approach after the fire and brimstone that has dominated recent debate on the UK's membership of the EU.

Opinion

The need for global cooperation in stopping Iran

Although Trump said he would tear up the Iran Nuclear Agreement, the new administration seems to want to work on a new policy toward Iran. Let's hope European leaders will respond in kind to this approach.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants storm Spanish enclave of Ceuta
  2. Spain's princess fined for tax fraud, husband sentenced
  3. EU to invest millions in energy infrastructure
  4. Dutch data watchdog forces online vote aides to up security
  5. EU allows Lithuania to ban Russian tv channel
  6. Finland announces increase in defence spending
  7. Ex-PM Blair says Brits should 'rise up' against Brexit
  8. Nato chief says facts to prevail over fake news

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty