If there was a referendum on Europe....

(190 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 15-Jan-13 08:31:42

... which seems to be the hot topic... how do you think it would go?

legalalien Wed 23-Jan-13 19:29:05

Which i guess emphasises the fact that it's difficult to get a handle on the existing pluses and minuses for the uk, and potential pluses and minuses going forward. Everyone has a view based on their own personal areas of interest, political belief, experiences etc etc. I wish someone could create a giant comprehensive and comprehensible spreadsheet for me to have a look at.

Maybe we could invite an existing third country - eg Canada to join, let them do the analysis and then go with that smile

legalalien Wed 23-Jan-13 19:30:35

Ps those french! I gather they've decided that a free trade agreement with siuth korea is not such a good idea now that french consumers have started buying korean cars in preference to french ones....smile

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Wed 23-Jan-13 19:44:18

Interesting to see what this will do to any future coalition discussions. Seems to me DC just painted himself into a corner. If the. Tories don't win out right it's hard to see the lib dems would enter a coalition with another referendum on a subject so close to their hearts where they disagree with their coalition partners. The electoral reform vote was surely too bruising to forget?

mumzy Wed 23-Jan-13 19:51:00

I think if we have a referedum the turnout will be high because for most people they would base their vote on the single issue that has affected them the most in recent year; the unexpected mass immigration of eastern europeans with the prospect of more from Romania and Hungary. If the government had any effective strategy to reverse and control this they may have some hope of generating enough support from voters to stay in EU but if they are seen as ineffective on this single issue then my feeling is we will vote to get out.

mumzy Wed 23-Jan-13 19:53:29

Think i don't think DC sees himself in coliation with libdems at next election and either do I as I think libdems will be annihilated

MousyMouse Wed 23-Jan-13 20:00:31

absolutely in!

Notquitegrownup Wed 23-Jan-13 20:16:24

In - definitely. I want my children to grow up and feel part of something larger than GB. I have loved travelling/living/working in Europe and feeling that I can be part of a growing generation for whom borders are less and less powerful as lines which separate us from each other. It's a big world out there and anything which reinforces our common humanity, common interests, common standards and expectations seems to me to open up possibilities for the future. Pulling out, battoning down the hatches, keeping to what we have got - even if it means we have a bit more financially (which I doubt would translate into huge gains for the UK, if any) - is not a mentality I want to pass onto the next generation.

fraktion Wed 23-Jan-13 20:17:23

The French have basically just said they'll make special efforts to accommodate (read: give special treatment to) any companies who decide to relocate from the UK over this referendum. Britain's place as the European HQ for many companies would be lost in a flash if that happened.

I hope British citizens resident in the EU will get a vote on this referendum. 99% of them would be voting to stay in because their entire lives are built on the opportunities afforded by free movement. Either that or their host countries will be facing a steep increase in applications for citizenship and the DWP will be facing an administrative nightmare.

IMO there is no realistic way the UK can withdraw and be better off in the short term, and I don't see a strong long term plan. Our only alternative is to create a rival faction and the Commonwealth isn't strong enough.

Instead of fannying around with a referendum which won't happen because there's legal precedent that promises made in one electoral term aren't valid in another I would much rather the UK tightened up the loopholes and applied the same measures other countries do re: healthcare and benefits for EU citizens.

ivykaty44 Wed 23-Jan-13 20:27:26

London is the financial capital of the world because of our timezone (we're slap bang in the middle), our friendly laws AND free access to the EU markets. If we removed that we'd see banks all wanting to establish a new European HQ so they can continue to trade in Euros.

Please come and explain this to me - I don't get why the banks would want to move - we use sterling here anyway?

The same will be the case for every car manufacturing plan in the U.K. (auto manufacturing being bright spark in this rececession). Why will car plants suffer?

Can I also ask why as a country we wouldn't want to trade with other countries outside the EU, if already we have 90% of our trade outside the EU surely finding another 10% of trade to go outside wouldn't be so hard with countries such as china and India?

myrubberduck Wed 23-Jan-13 20:39:49

Eu is popular in Scotland and the scots just do not get their knickers in a twist over Europe the way a sizable number of English apparently do. Scotland is holding its own 'in or out' referendum in 2014. Does anyone seriously think that scots voters will be willing to risk being dragged out of Europe by the likes of Nigel Farrage????

This simply will not have occurred to the Tory backbenchers currently crowing over their 'victory'. I suspect they and UKIP are only dimly conscious of the fact that the United Kingdom consists of 4 countries, not just England

mumzy Wed 23-Jan-13 20:43:14

Fraktion is that the same French which recently hiked up the rate of taxation prompting the rich and famous to flee France

fraktion Wed 23-Jan-13 20:45:15

Indeed. Retaliation for DC saying he'd welcome with open arms anyone who found that unacceptable wink

niceguy2 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:03:54

Ivykaty.

The Eurozone is the largest single market in the world. The UK makes up a fair size of that yes....but even without us, it would still be very big.

If the UK was not part of the EU then the banks would have to establish a headquarters in an EU country in order to maintain free trade.

Secondly I suspect banks such as Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas & SocGen will be under massive pressure to move business back into the Eurozone.

As for the cars. the EU slaps import taxes on cars made outside of the EU. So our car exports would be subject to this. The likes of Nissan & Toyota would have more incentive to move to avoid this. After all, the duty is why they built factories in Europe anyway and didn't simply ship them over from Japan in bigger numbers.

As for trade, 52% of our exports go to other EU countries, not 10%.

It just makes NO sense to me. To want to leave because we want to be independent. But then to sign up to be an outsider who has to obey the rules but not have a voice in making them. It's just crazy.

Right now we're one of the core members albeit an awkward one. But Germany is actually more onside with us than France usually is and an Anglo-German alliance would to me be a more logical way forward. France would LOVE it if we left. They'd suck up to the German's in a heartbeat.

retrorobot Wed 23-Jan-13 21:10:28

"London is the financial capital of the world because of our timezone (we're slap bang in the middle), our friendly laws AND free access to the EU markets. If we removed that we'd see banks all wanting to establish a new European HQ so they can continue to trade in Euros.

Please come and explain this to me - I don't get why the banks would want to move - we use sterling here anyway?"

ivykaty44: International banks are in London because:

- Under EU financial services rules a bank in London can lend to a business borrower anywhere in the EU or an investment manager in London can have as clients companies anywhere in the EU. This is under EU rules on freedom to provide services. If the U.K. leaves the EU then those rules will no longer apply. International banks are going to establish their European HQs in the EU instead - I expect some will go to Paris, some to Dublin, some maybe somewhere else.

- The EU rules on free movement of workers mean that they can easily employ in London people from any EU country. Most non-admin staff in international banks in London are not from the U.K. Unfortunately, because of the poor education system / general laziness, non enough British people can speak French/German/Italian etc. with sufficient fluency and not enough of them have the educational standards to do the complex work, never mind work the long hours involved.

"Can I also ask why as a country we wouldn't want to trade with other countries outside the EU, if already we have 90% of our trade outside the EU surely finding another 10% of trade to go outside wouldn't be so hard with countries such as china and India?"

ivykaty44: 90% of the U.K.'s trade is not outside the EU. That figure is generated by the anti-EU bunch saying 80% of U.K. trade is internal, e.g. you buy a piece of beef that is the product of a bullock raised and butchered in the U.K. But foreign trade is vital.

Roughly half of the U.K.'s exports go to other EU countries. A bit more of the U.K.'s imports come from other EU countries. China and India are much less important - in 2011 the U.K. exported more to Belgium alone than it did to China and India put together. The anti-EU bunch will say the U.K. imports more from the rest of the EU than it exports, so it is better off without that trade. That is utter rubbish. First, the U.K.'s total imports are, and have been for many years, more than its exports - it's not just with the EU that the U.K. runs a trade deficit. For example, in 2011 for ever £1 of goods the U.K. exported to China the U.K. imported £3 of goods from China. For many many goods geographical proximity matters as shipping costs are too high.

Here is a link to the 2011 figures for U.K. exports and imports with different countries:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/feb/24/uk-trade-exports-imports

roastchicken Wed 23-Jan-13 21:16:56

I can't believe what Cameron has done. He comes across like a petulant schoolboy in a public school debating society. This is all for his party and not for the country.

I like in London. Most of my work is connected with Europe as is most of the work of my friends. London is the most European city in the Eurozone, and subsidises the rest of the UK, which without London is mostly a relatively poor country. Severing ties with the largest trading partner due to some deluded visions of former national grandeur is hardly in the interests of the country. In terms of waste - I would guess that he is committed to spending massively more on international development than Britain commits to the EU. Also, Britain's welfare system is hardly a model of efficiency. I really don't see what there is to gain from leaving but there seems that a hell of a lot could be lost.

This reminds me of the experience of Montreal. In the 1970s, it was the most important Canadian city. Then they elected a party which wished to make Montreal more 'Quebecois' - more french-speaking. The result - exit of businesses and relative economic decline.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal

Oblomov Wed 23-Jan-13 21:17:48

I think we will never get a referendum.
I need to see hard facts and figures about he EU. But I fear I will never be given them.
I know you are all going to HATE the fact that I am about to do a Daily Mail link, but has anyone ever read the Christopher Booker (who also writes for the Telegraph) book on the EU? Does he have any valid points? I supect he has.
He implies that we have ben tricked into what was the Common Market, into he EU, into what was always intended to be a Superstate, leaving us with minimal power.
EU

Oblomov Wed 23-Jan-13 21:24:25

I do still believe that because we have been in the EU so long, we are so inter-twined that it is almost impossible for us to leave.
I just can't see us being able to leave. Even if we wanted to.
I resent the power we have lost, to the EU. The making of laws and dominating us so much. But then thats is our nature. We are so British. We abide by the laws, yes sir, no sir. It would appear that the french are much more selective about what they abide to.
Or is that just my misconception?

flatpackhamster Wed 23-Jan-13 21:27:38

retrorobot

ivykaty44: International banks are in London because:

- Under EU financial services rules a bank in London can lend to a business borrower anywhere in the EU or an investment manager in London can have as clients companies anywhere in the EU. This is under EU rules on freedom to provide services. If the U.K. leaves the EU then those rules will no longer apply. International banks are going to establish their European HQs in the EU instead - I expect some will go to Paris, some to Dublin, some maybe somewhere else.

The banks were in London before the EU decided to meddle in the financial services sector. They won't budge. There's a cachet about London which - despite its best efforts - Paris simply doesn't have.

- The EU rules on free movement of workers mean that they can easily employ in London people from any EU country. Most non-admin staff in international banks in London are not from the U.K. Unfortunately, because of the poor education system / general laziness, non enough British people can speak French/German/Italian etc. with sufficient fluency and not enough of them have the educational standards to do the complex work, never mind work the long hours involved.

Of course, what's often ignored by the pro-EU lot is that if the UK left the EU, people wouldn't suddenly stop being allowed to work here. So even if we pretend (in an imaginary world) that the standard of graduates is so poor in the UK that banks can't find the skilled, multi-language-speaking graduates they need, EU workers could still come here.

It's just that we could pick and choose who came, instead of (as of next year) receiving a million unskilled Romanians and Bulgarians.

ivykaty44: 90% of the U.K.'s trade is not outside the EU. That figure is generated by the anti-EU bunch saying 80% of U.K. trade is internal, e.g. you buy a piece of beef that is the product of a bullock raised and butchered in the U.K. But foreign trade is vital.

Yes, and the world is rather bigger than the provincials in Brussels would have you believe.

Roughly half of the U.K.'s exports go to other EU countries. A bit more of the U.K.'s imports come from other EU countries. China and India are much less important - in 2011 the U.K. exported more to Belgium alone than it did to China and India put together.

And in 30 years time, the EU will comprise 10% of the global economy rather than 20%. It's a backwater, and we shouldn't be shackling ourselves to this crippled, cumbersome superstate.

The anti-EU bunch will say the U.K. imports more from the rest of the EU than it exports, so it is better off without that trade.

That isn't what they say at all. Excellent strawman, though.

roastchicken Wed 23-Jan-13 21:28:25

Oblomov - you're totally right and the Evening Standard's business columnist has made the same point. Britain tends to apply all laws to the letter, and complain about them, whilst the French ignore those they disagree with. A bit more pragmatism would go a long way.

ivykaty44 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:30:10

Thank you both for answering the first question, niceguy I really wanted an answer to the second question as well?

retrorobot - sorry but I want to know why we don't look for other trade outside the EU, you have told me figures of what we do trade etc (I got the 10% form this thread somewhere further back and sorry I don't know where or who said it - but it obviously stuck in my head!)but not why we wouldn't look for more trade outside the EU, there is trade to be had as both the countries I know are going to grow and will look to import - so why don't we look to do that importing?

I am not picking by the way I do want to know, having trouble picking through the mess of literature that is out there.

The other thing that really worries me is stopping from being a democracy, as we just don't get to vote on EU, just our own country elections

Pan Wed 23-Jan-13 21:32:58

In. We are Europeans, or nothing, in the future. Just a small, cold set of islands who don't grasp the significance of a large set of other peoples who we trade with and benefit from.

Cameron is scared by UKIP. Doesn't mean the rest of us have to be.

roastchicken Wed 23-Jan-13 21:33:07

If the EU is a backwater what is Britain? Europe is a more important trading partner to the UK than vice versa.

If Britain quits, will the EU really give it preferential status e.g. on the bits that Cameron likes? Or are they likely to treat it as an insular pariah that they wouldn't give the time of day to?

flatpackhamster Wed 23-Jan-13 21:33:47

roastchicken

Oblomov - you're totally right and the Evening Standard's business columnist has made the same point. Britain tends to apply all laws to the letter, and complain about them, whilst the French ignore those they disagree with. A bit more pragmatism would go a long way.

So you think we should actively ignore the laws our Parliament has ratified?

Does that make us 'good Europeans', like the French?

flatpackhamster Wed 23-Jan-13 21:36:55

roastchicken

If the EU is a backwater what is Britain? Europe is a more important trading partner to the UK than vice versa.

This year, maybe. In 10 years time, the money will be flowing east to China. In 20, Brazil and 30 India.

If Britain quits, will the EU really give it preferential status e.g. on the bits that Cameron likes? Or are they likely to treat it as an insular pariah that they wouldn't give the time of day to?

Given the devastating impact of the trade wars over the next decade, I suspect that the EU (read Germany) will be grateful for all the trade it can get. Since Germany pays for the social welfare programs of the idler nations to its south, they'll have to put up or shut up.

alemci Wed 23-Jan-13 21:37:10

I totally agree Fraction. Is it just us who are allowing the Romanians and Bulgarians free movement into the UK.

It is a crazy state of affairs when we have high unemployment and are trying to reduce the deficit.

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