Monday, 4 April 2016

The myths from the Leave EU groups - Project Fantasy!

Project Fantasy (the name I shall use for the Leave EU campaigners) say
“We can leave the EU and still have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the other 27 countries and we can also take control of our country back”.
They go on to say how the UK is so powerful that after we have left, UK can just impose a new trade agreement with the EU on our own terms and that the EU won’t put tariffs in place because they need us more than we need them.
I’m sorry they are not being honest!  Let’s take a look at these statements:
On a new FTA, there is unavoidable legislation in place for tariff regimes for any country that leaves the EU.  It is automatic and unavoidable if we vote to leave the EU.
On taking control of our country – the UK already has complete control over our laws, rules and regulations.   It wasn’t the EU that forced the Government to implement a ‘Snoopers Charter’ to allow the Government to read all our emails, it wasn’t the EU that forced the Government to cut 30% per week off disability benefits, it wasn’t the EU that forced the Government to sell off parts of the NHS etc.   Overall, there are not that many EU directives that the UK has implemented, and we would have to keep them all anyway if we leave the EU, in the same way that we would have to meet product regulations from the USA if we want to sell product there too.
Project Fantasy claim that trade agreements are not imposed by the smaller player in a negotiation, they are ‘agreed’, and/or compromises are reached.  Concessions are made by each side in the negotiation and a meeting of minds is reached to finalise an agreement. 
So what attitude will the other side in the negotiation take towards the negotiations?  Let’s see what they have to say:
Rafał Trzaskowski, Poland’s Secretary of State for European affairs: “Leave the union and you will see how much control you will have over your own destiny,” ….  “It is an illusion that Great Britain can be as important as it is now, standing alone on the global stage.”
Laurent Fabius, the French Foreign Minister, has also said his country will block any “special status” for the UK.
Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has warned the UK not to lose himself in “wishful thinking” and that Angela Merkel, would do nothing to “endanger the basic principles of the common market, of the EU”
Dr Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta (one of the unanimous Heads of State that the UK would need for a post-Brexit negotiation):
“Should Britain choose to exit the EU, the EU leaders would be keen to show to their national audiences that such a process would be very ugly, very painful and very costly. Any settlement and possible deal will not offer the kind of 1970s single market model while ditching what some consider as irritating add-ons. In other words, one can safely assume that freedom of movement of persons, on the same level as it is today, would remain a main requirement for any free access to the single market,”
The story is strikingly similar from Paris to Brussels, Berlin and Warsaw. Everyone wants to try to help the UK, but there are limits beyond which they will not go.  A post-EU Britain would need a unanimous vote of ALL 27 member countries Heads of State for future agreements to be approved I rather doubt that they will be that keen to offer the UK all the benefits of the club after we just resigned our membership.
Naturally other EU member states will want to protect their own interests (which are also ours until we vote to leave), this means that they will want to ensure that the EU continues with its own priorities in what are very difficult political and economic times.
Making sure that someone who has just left the club ‘feels OK’ about the new situation will be very low on their list of priorities!
Anyone that thinks the UK will get an ‘easy ride’ if we vote to leave the EU is simply unaware of what happens next, or just doesn’t care about the people of the United Kingdom – either way, they need to be aware that times will be tough after a leave vote. (whatever we end up negotiating it is almost guaranteed to be a worse deal for UK exporters than we already have)
The experience of Switzerland should alert us that Project Fantasy will be the biggest gamble we will ever take. The Swiss have spent more than ten years negotiating over 120 separate bi-lateral agreements with the European Union.
They pay “a fortune” to the EU towards cohesion funds, has to accept free movement of people, has a range of tariffs imposed on it by the EU on all sorts from coffee to car parts to vinegar and still doesn’t have access to the Single Market for its biggest export Financial Services.
The UK is not just voting on free movement of people since we are not in the Schengen Agreement anyway. The UK already controls its own borders. The UK is far more intertwined in the EU than Switzerland ever was. Through our cultures and our attitudes towards the world we are united.
So what does Project Fantasy say next?  
Ah the UK can walk away from the EU because most of our GDP is home grown….so exports do not matter as much as is being claimed!
According to the World Bank, UK exports represent around 30% of our total GDP. That represents £630.3 BILLION..
To put that figure into perspective the Chancellor’s austerity cuts that people complain about so much total around £30 billion over the next 5 years according to HM Treasury. So yes our exports are hugely important and greatly matter.
I reckon the best option is to continue to work together with our European neighbours', reforming the EU, keeping our influence on the world stage, maintaining our customer base, keeping our costs low, continue to help develop poorer countries so that they can afford to buy the products we make, continue to make the world a better place and have open minds about the future of our Sovereign and independent country as a part of something bigger.

Many of my posts on the EU and Brexit for a period will be an amalgam of previous posts by Jason J Hunter of the New Europeans. He is doing outstanding posts.