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Explanation needed about exit of EU

40 replies

HappydaysArehere · 06/02/2016 10:07

Please can anyone clarify two points? Firstly, how much will it cost us? That is on ongoing expenditure such as Switzerland and Norway have to pay. Secondly, how long will it take to extract us from all the treaties and legal detritus and again wil this be just money for EU lawyers etc? With these questions unanswered I am really on the fence.

OP posts:
RortyCrankle · 06/02/2016 12:51

I recall reading that Switzerland pay approx 700 million Swiss francs to the EU per annum in connection with several policies and programmes. I don't know the exchange rate but this is obviously considerably less than the approx 12 billion pounds paid by the UK to the EU annually. I don't remember seeing a figure for Norway.

Re our extraction - I'm guessing it would be a reasonably lengthy process led by the UK Government rather than lawyers but am open to being corrected on that.

Angeladelight · 06/02/2016 12:55

I think I heard on a radio programme the other day that it would take a couple of years for the whole thing to go through legally.

niceguy2 · 06/02/2016 17:37

It's not the direct costs that we should be worried about. They'll be what they will be. And all likelihood a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things.

But let's just run with it for the moment. Yes £12billion is a lot of money in real terms. But don't forget the UK takes £667billion a year in taxes. £12 billion in that context isn't a big deal. it's less than 1.8% of what we take in taxes.

Now the leave camp want to leave the EU but be more like Switzerland & Norway. So we'd have to pay something still. We wouldn't instantly save £12 billion. No-one knows what we would actually save but let's for arguments sake halve it. In Government terms it's almost a rounding error.

However......what we would lose is firstly influence. Right now we have a seat at the table and in certain circumstances a veto. In the future we have this rather odd sounding red card system and 'emergency brake' but whatever. The main thing is that we can be at the table shaping the rules and whilst we may not always get our way, we can influence and on occasion block certain things using our veto.

What happens if we leave? Well we still have to implement the same rules that the rest of the EU says we do in order to trade with them. No-one in their right minds would dare disagree since they're our largest trading partners. But we no longer help set the rules. We just have to do it.

Also, what happens to all the companies who need a base in the EU and currently are in the UK. Many of them may never come here or simply relocate to other EU countries. Banking is one area. Whilst it's almost become acceptable to banker bash, they contribute 10% of our taxes. So if a lot of them upsticks and move to another EU country then we're all a lot poorer as a result.

And what's our main reason for leaving? Immigration and meddling from the EU.

Well on immigration, yes we're getting a lot of immigrants at the moment. But we never seem to think about emigration? What about all those UK citizens who now live in Spain. Or have jobs in other EU countries? I know quite a few people who have moved to Germany, France, Sweden & Poland for jobs.

Yes a lot of economic migrants from outside the EU are throwing themselves on the tunnel trying to get to the UK. Would that stop? No of course not. They'll still continue to fling themselves onto lorries and trains.

EU laws? Well how many of them do we REALLY hate? The Human rights one is lauded a lot as an example. But hey. I actually like having human rights. In fact, if that one went, I'd personally kind of like us to have a replacement that's well....nearasdammit the same.

We'd still have to comply on EU laws on goods & services if we ever want to trade in their countries.

So in short leaving to me seems to be very short sighted. It solves very little if anything and is simply the politics of fear.

RortyCrankle · 06/02/2016 22:33


Re our financial contribution to the EU after leaving, having googled the Swiss Frank/Pound exchange rate, the current Swiss contribution equates to 500 million pounds, considerably less than the half of 12 billion pounds you suggest and I see no reason why we would pay 6 billion after leaving. Why should we pay more than Switzerland?

How useful has a seat at the table really been for the UK? Yes we would lose our veto which is not such a big deal since the UK has failed to block a single EU measure in the last approx 20 years. I see no value if it cannot be utilised.

Re London's financial position - here's a link to something I read recently saying it will be business as usual:

On immigration, I think the majority of people would like the UK to control its own borders. Of course we should accept genuine asylum seekers from war torn countries but there has to be a limit and a choice about who we will allow into our country, ie families and old people taken from the refugee camps and say a strong no to the teeming predominantly young male economic migrants parked outside Calais and elsewhere in Europe who have already created major problems in Europe. No thanks to Merkel for that.

Yes we will have to abide by EU trade laws but the percentage of UK exports to the EU is falling and is forecast to continue to fall.

So, I am still planning to vote Out.

januarybrown1998 · 06/02/2016 22:40

I think that businesses will find huge implications for everything from employment law to patents to data protection to M&A activity. Most functions will be affected and the rewriting of contracts, and deciding which laws to retain and reject could be a lengthy process.

Also how we do business and with whom.

Some organisations think it will free them up to trade outside the EU, but I believe they are a minority.

However, I think the sea change in public opinion has been astonishing and the government need to think hard about why that is.

dodobookends · 06/02/2016 22:45

what we would lose is firstly influence

Well, we don't have all that much now, and the little we do have just helps to protect us from the dafter laws they want to bring in. Which we wouldn't need to do any more if we were no longer a member.

STIDW · 08/02/2016 23:24

The most detailed cost/benefit analysis in the world can’t settle the question of EU membership either way.That’s because many costs & benefits are real but intangible so impossible to boil down to numbers. The UK’s net contribution to the EU doesn’t take into account the Foreign Direct Investment we receive from the EU (currently running at £500bn a year) & the associated jobs. Nearly every claim you will read about the effects of leaving relies on some sort of assumption &, unsurprisingly, if someone wants a negative figure, they assume the worst, and vice versa.

If we vote to leave the UK the EU has to formally notified & a withdrawal agreement negotiated. The Treaties would cease to be applicable from the date of the agreement or, failing that, within 2 years of the notification unless the State and the EU Council both agree to extend the period

STIDW · 08/02/2016 23:29

If we vote to leave the UK the EU has to be formally notified

annapoole · 11/02/2016 16:40

All the main parties want to stay in the EU despite the propaganda they preach to the public. They say if we leave that it will cost up to 3 million jobs. That's a total lie. They can never back it up with any evidence. I've written to my MP, he never answers the question and has now asked his staff not to speak to me on the phone.

Jack Straw's son Will is fronting the "Britain Stronger in Europe" campaign. I sent their leaflet back circling the lies. I also emailled them asking what qualifies him to be such an expert? No reply of course. His father Jack is heading up a Freedom of Information Review Panel in an attempt to kerb the remit of FOI requests. I can see why.

Once we are locked in to the EU, it will join with the Asian Union and the America Union. Voila, a one world government.

Cameron also scaremongers with this so called once in a lifetime decision that cannot be reversed. Under the British Constitution, a parliament cannot bind its successors. Of course, Cameron would tell us, as would his lying MPs, that we have no constitution. You cannot trust anything the main parties say. That's why I voted for the Patria party in the last election, Party politics doesn't work because they're all the same. I would have voted for an independent, but there was non e in my constituency.

annapoole · 11/02/2016 16:47

One other thing. The EU is corrupt and has no signed off audited accounts since its inception 19 years ago. If a self employed sole trader folioed that example, they would be in prison.

STIDW · 13/02/2016 02:15

Under the British Constitution, a parliament cannot bind its successors.

That’s hypothetical. In the Court of Appeal case Blackburn v Attorney General 1971 which determined joining the EEC was lawful Lord Denning ruled;

We have all been brought up to believe that, in legal theory, one Parliament cannot bind another and that no Act is irreversible. But legal theory does not always march alongside political reality. Take the Statute of Westminster; 1931, which takes away the power of Parliament to legislate for the Dominions. Can any one imagine that Parliament could or would reverse that Statute? Take the Acts which have granted independence to the Dominions and territories overseas. Can anyone imagine that Parliament could or would reverse those laws and take away their independence? Most clearly not. Freedom once given cannot be taken away. Legal theory must give way to practical politics.

The EU is corrupt and has no signed off audited accounts since its inception 19 years ago.

Audits aren’t a pass or fail exercise. Every year the independent EU Court of Auditors appointed by the Council of Ministers (heads of all the EU states) signs off the accounts as a true record. The annual accounts for 2014 & reports going back 7+ are available from the ECA website.

Typically material error of around 4% is reported each year. Although that is a large amount of money & it isn’t good news, it isn’t as bad it might first seem. “Material error” is defined as anything over 2% & errors of 4% or even more are common in UK public finances. Also some of the money may be recouped.

Where I think the confusion arises is on recommendation from the Council the budgets are ultimately discharged by MEPs. That releases the Commission from the responsibility of managing a given budget. The decision to “discharge” is postponed until the the auditors’ report, the accounts & other documents have been reviewed & the Commission has responded to specific questions, & provided further information as requested. All the budgets except 2014 have been discharged.

harrasseddotcom · 13/02/2016 02:24

Possibly the answers are (1) a lot more than nothing, with nowt to show for it and (2) years and years and years. As a Scottish person, I am really really torn. Id like to stay in the EU for no other reason than the thought of being at the mercy of the tories for trivial things like the Human Rights Law terrifies me, yet id love England to vote yes to leave whilst Scotland voted No (Scotland is predicted to vote no by a large margin) just so it triggers a (hopefully successful) second independence referendum.

RortyCrankle · 14/02/2016 14:08

I believe David Cameron has ruled out another Scottish independence referendum until at least 2020. Still, hopefully by then the oil price may have recovered a bit

BungoWomble · 16/02/2016 07:45

Cameron scaremongering by saying it's an irreversible decision? Heard it all now.

Leaving may not be quite irreversible, but it's certainly not something we'll be able to change our minds on every other year is it? If we did want back in after telling them to sod off because they're undemocratic etc they're hardly going to feel friendly about us crawling back saying "er actually.." . They would at least set the conditions of their fancy, which may well by then mean forced further integration or the euro at least. Would we welcome Scotland back If they'd left and then changed their minds, no questions asked?

That said, does anyone know of good solid information sources on the impacts?

RortyCrankle · 16/02/2016 11:13

I hope it's irreversible. If we vote Out I want to stay Out.

Scotland is a different matter altogether and think we would be more likely to welcome them back, not that I can see that happening, they hate the English too much.

harrasseddotcom · 16/02/2016 13:25

sorry, just having a wee laugh at the Scottish 'hating' the English sooooo much. Is this in the same vein that only ukippers are voting out because they hate all those foreign terrorist immigrants?

caroldecker · 16/02/2016 13:49

We would not have to follow EU rules for everybody. People who export to US, China etc have to make sure the products meet the legislation in that area and we have no say in it, the EU would be no different. Smaller companies which don't export would not have to follow the same rules.
Greenland left and are happy with the descision.

STIDW · 17/02/2016 14:26

does anyone know of good solid information sources on the impacts?

Our contribution to the EU is about £20bn a year but we get back about £8-9bn through the rebate & the Agricultural Guarantee Fund to farmers.
In 2014, British companies sold around £229bn in good & services to the EU (ONS). The EU exported £61.6bn more to the UK than we did to them. However many of the costs/benefits of EU membership are difficult to quantify.

In addition to trade the UK receives more Foreign Direct Investment (& the jobs that brings) from the EU than any other country, worth around £500bn in 2014. Common standards lead to safer & more environmentally friendly products. Freedom of movement enables academics to easily access & share a wide pool of knowledge without travelling to the authorised of the world or needing to wait for visas. Sharing knowledge improves research leading to better products.

Financial markets don’t like uncertainty so stability & security has economic benefits. Although NATO is the main guarantor from external threat the EU plays a role in creating & extending friendship, co-operation, democracy & the rule of law within Europe.

As I said above nearly all the costs/benefits of EU membership analysis available relies on some sort of assumption. Channel 4’s Fact Check & Full Fact websites examine the various claims.

STIDW · 17/02/2016 14:30

Damned predicative text "travelling to the authorised of the world" should read "travelling to the other side of the world"

caroldecker · 17/02/2016 19:59

Of the £34bn tax gap, £2.5bn is tobacco and alcohol duties which would be recovered if the UK could prevent imports from the EU duty paid. A further £1bn is missing trader fraud on VAT which would also be recovered.
In fact, the whole VAT process could be reviewed and replaced with a much simpler sales tax (could also zero rate tampons and change throughout the country to reduce costs in deprived areas).
Common standards do not lead to safer and more enviromentally friendly products. The UK welfare standards for pigs is higher then the EU, but they cannot block (mainly Danish) cheaper, less welfare friendly products being imported. The new EU rules on vaping products are also anti-health. Eu fisheries policy in UK waters has also been a huge disaster, whilst farming subsidies (70% of EU spending) are bonkers.

PerspicaciaTick · 17/02/2016 20:02

This is a really interesting BBC Radio 4 programme about Norway's relationship with Europe, some of the costs involved and the impact the EU legislation has on Norwegian businesses.

Slimmingcrackers · 20/02/2016 14:21

First point.

I assume it would be negotiated. And the costs would be calculated for the UK economy but would be proportionate to the costs paid by Switzerland and Norway for their economies. Logically, the greater the economic benefit to the UK, the greater the entrance fee to the EU market.

Second point.

In terms of leaving, the EU Treaty provides a two-year phase out period ie the agreement to leave would have to be concluded within two years of a no vote (but this is unchartered territory!).

In terms of future disputes over rights acquired under the EU treaties but apparently lost on UK exit, I would image that the lawyers can look forward to decades of (profitable for them!) litigation!

All the time, these costs and uncertainties would surely impact on inward investment in to the UK.

Surely all international companies currently considering investments in the UK will now have to be thinking about how Brexit would affect their business?

Slimmingcrackers · 20/02/2016 14:27

To respectfully reply to CarolDecker are you suggesting that Tesco will no longer supply pork from Denmark? Of course they will because British consumers want cheap food.

The issue is using the EU to agree to higher standards, which means everyone has to conform and our farmers cannot be undercut. But at the moment, UK consumers want cheaper food. The EU is the best route to resolve this, not the cause of it!!

VertigoNun · 20/02/2016 14:30

Marking my place for later.

caroldecker · 20/02/2016 16:46


The UK introduced tougher rules on veal and pork production than the EU, but cannot prevent EU meat being sold in the UK. So veal and pork is sold in the country that is raised in conditions that are illegal in the UK. If we were outside the EU, the government could stop the importation of food that breached UK laws, in the same way we currently ban the import of food that breaches EU laws.
The EU does not necessarily want higher welfare standards, it took until 1996 for veal crates to be banned because the French like them and the EU needs everyone to agree. Until then, UK calves were airfreighted to France, because crates were banned in the UK in 1990.
Norway does not pay to access the free market, it pays to be part of some EU things, such as the European Defence agency out of choice.
Norway has introduced about 21% of EU laws, again out of choice.

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