Monday

23rd Sep 2019

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."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

Four EU states want 'automatic' refugee relocation

The interior ministers from France, Germany, Italy, and Malta are meeting on Monday to discuss a new temporary and voluntary agreement for the relocation of asylum seekers, that will prevent EU countries from negotiating case-by-case.

Opinion

Blocking Brexit will boost the far-right

Mainstream British politicians have a responsibility to find ways how to counter the growing far-right extremist threat. Overturning Brexit will only serve to intensify it.

Investigation

EU institution beset by harassment claims

Insiders at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the EU's smallest institution, have described a culture-of-fear environment in the workplace, in the wake of the probationary appointment of its newest secretary-general.

News in Brief

  1. Doubt cast on new Maltese inquiry into slain reporter
  2. March by Slovak Catholics seeks abortion ban
  3. 600,000 stranded on holiday as Thomas Cook collapses
  4. Egypt: hundreds of protesters arrested over weekend
  5. Global car industry fears no-deal Brexit shock
  6. France: de-escalation between US and Iran priority
  7. Spain demands UK 'reciprocity' on resident rights
  8. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  2. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  4. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  8. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  10. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  11. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  12. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us