United Kingdom Membership in the European Union

Introduction

The United Kingdom is expected to go to a referendum in June 2016 to determine whether the country should remain a member of the European Union or not (Gifford 2015). A section of the society strongly believes that the United Kingdom should exit the European Union because the country is not getting the benefits that it was promised when it was joining this economic and political block.

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The opponents of this union believe that the United Kingdom has been forced to donate its political and economic power to the union without getting equal benefits from it. However, there is a section of the society that strongly believes that the United Kingdom stands to benefit a lot from being a member of the European Union than when it considers exiting from it.

They argue that the common market of the European Union not only offers exporters a wider market for their products but also gives the country a stronger bargaining power with other major economic blocks. There is no consensus about whether or not the country should remain a member of this economic and political block. In this paper, the researchers will critically analyze factors that support the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

Critical Analysis of the Factors Supporting the UK’s exit from the EU

The United Kingdom was once the most powerful nation on earth, but those glorious days ended following the end of the Second World War. However, the United Kingdom remained a major power after the war not only in Europe but also in the entire world. On January 1, 1973, the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community (Baimbridge, Whyman, & Burkitt 2011). This economic block was meant to strengthen the country’s economy and secure its borders from external aggressions.

It was also meant to enhance regional integration following the end of a major war that had torn continental Europe into pieces given that it was the epicenter of the war. On November 1, 1993, the economic and political block changed its name to the European Union and its membership continued to grow. This was good news to its member states, but the United Kingdom continued to lose the power it once enjoyed to this union. It reduced our nation to a mere province within the European Union, a province that lacked political and economic autonomy (Baimbridge 2006).

This may appear normal to a section of the society that is yet to understand how crippling the union means to our economy, but for those who understand these dynamics, it is clear that the country ought to leave the union. The country is not getting what it was promised, and the following are some of the reasons that back this argument.

Membership fee

The United Kingdom, and all other members of the European Union, pay an annual membership fee to this Union. A report by Masters (2009) shows that in 2015, the United Kingdom paid £13 billion as a membership fee and only received £4.5 billion worth of spending. It leaves the country with a net contribution of £8.5 billion to the Union. Based on the country’s budget for 2015, that amount of money is worth 7% of the government’s expenditure in the National Health Service. The money can go a long way in improving our health sector or any other sector within our economy if the country votes to leave the Union. The amount of money that the United Kingdom injects directly into the Union is less than what it receives from it. It simply means that the country is losing money by being a member of the union.

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Trade

According to Gifford (2015), the European Union is the leading trade partner of the United Kingdom, accounting for 51% of all the exports from this country. However, it is important to note that the country is not getting any special favor from the union because 51% of all the imports into the country come from the European Union. This is a perfectly balanced trade relationship as shown in the figure below.

Exports and Imports in the UK.
Figure 1: Exports and Imports in the UK.

It means that the union needs the United Kingdom, in terms of trade, just as much as the United Kingdom needs it. As such, there should not be any strings attached to this mutually beneficial economic relationship. The United Kingdom can still maintain this economic relationship with the European Union even after exiting the union. As such, citizens of this great nation should consider voting in favor of exiting the Union.

Monetary policy

The European Union has been exerting pressure on the United Kingdom to abolish its currency and embrace the Euro as the main currency of trade in the region (Miolitin 2013). However, this may take away the power of the country to control issues such as inflation. The theory of Monetarism holds that “excessive expansion of the money supply is inherently inflationary, and that monetary authorities should focus solely on maintaining price stability” (Smith 2011, p. 76). The Central Government has the mandate of monitoring money supply within the economy. Adopting the regional currency will mean that the country will be stripped of its power to control national inflation. This policy may have negative effects on various industries within the country.

Immigration

The issue of immigration is one of the leading concerns among the citizens of the United Kingdom. A report by Charter (2012) shows that the United Kingdom is one of the most preferred destinations for emigrants coming from various parts of the world. One of the main problems of uncontrolled immigration is that it puts a strain on our resources. For instance, the healthcare and education sectors are strained because of the uncontrolled immigration into the country.

The European Union allows citizens of the member states to move freely for trade, tourism, or in search of job opportunities from one country to another. The immigration has been skewed towards the United Kingdom, with major cities such as London receiving thousands of immigrants from other European Union countries every year (Baimbridge & Whyman 2008). The power to control this immigration is taken away from the hands of the United Kingdom’s government. We are forced to take care of people who are not paying taxes to this country. Firms may suffer in case the government is forced to raise taxes to support the increasing demand for healthcare and educational services. This burden will come to a stop as soon as the country leaves the European Union.

Jobs

The United Kingdom has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. However, free movement reduces job opportunities for local job seekers. Individual citizens get to suffer when they are met with stiff competition in the job market. The consumers of the local job market find that they have to contend with a market full of local and international experts. The situation causes a rise in the unemployment rate in the country. This scenario can be eliminated if the country exits the European Union.

Security

Security is another major issue that the country is trying to deal with in a modern society where terrorism has become very rampant. The United Kingdom can only protect its borders effectively if it has the power who is allowed to enter its borders as long as they are not citizens of the United Kingdom (Weller 2013). However, as a member of the union, it is forced to allow every citizen of the union into the country without any restrictions. It makes it difficult to control external threats. This is one of the signs that the country’s sovereignty has been donated to the union.

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Conclusion

The United Kingdom has benefitted a lot as a member of the European Union since the time it joined it in 1973. However, a time has come when the citizens of this country have to rethink its future in this union based on the changes that have been witnessed for the last forty years. The county is giving more to the union than it gets from it. The net benefit that citizens of the United Kingdom derive from it is negative. As such, the citizens should consider voting in favor of an exit from the union on June 23, 2016 referendum.

List of References

Baimbridge, M & Whyman, P 2008, Britain, the Euro and beyond, Ashgate, Aldershot.

Baimbridge, M 2006, The 1975 Referendum on Europe – Volume 1: Reflections of the Participants, Andrews, Luton.

Baimbridge, M, Whyman, P & Burkitt, B 2011, Britain in a Global World: Options for a New Beginning, Andrews, Luton.

Charter, D 2012, Au Revoir, Europe: What If Britain Left the EU, Biteback Publishers, London.

Gifford, C 2015, The UK challenge to Europeanization: The persistence of British Euroscepticism, Cengage, New York.

Masters, T 2009, Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring, Lonely Planet, Oakland.

Miolitin, G 2013, The future of the European Union: UK Government policy: first report of session 2013-14, Stationery Office, London.

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Smith, M 2011, Consolidated statement on the use of EU funds in the UK: For the year ended 31 March 2009, Stationery Office, London.

Sorhun, E, Hacioğlu, U & Dinçer, H 2015, Regional economic integration and the global financial system, Cengage, New York.

Weller, J 2013, Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union: Issues and impacts, Wiley, Hoboken.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, December 23). United Kingdom Membership in the European Union. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/united-kingdom-membership-in-the-european-union/

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'United Kingdom Membership in the European Union'. 23 December.

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