Remain at the centre of Europe

"We will withdraw from the Single Market which is around half of our trade in goods and services. We will also leave the Customs Union, covering trade with countries like Turkey. Then we need to replace over 50 Preferential Trade Agreements we have via our membership of the EU; for instance with Switzerland. So, EU-related trade is actually two thirds of the UK total. This impacts everything from airline travel, to financial services to manufacturing industry, sector by sector. We will pay for previous EU obligations but not benefit from future opportunities, with figures as high as £60bn as the cost.  We will lose influence in the world’s most significant political union; and have to negotiate on our own on issues like the environment where we presently benefit from Europe’s collective strength." Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, February 2017

The UK government has agreed to pay £39 billion as a divorce bill.  The net cost of staying in the EU, according to the governments own calculations is £7.1 billion per year.  It will, therefore, take at least five years to pay that bill at the rate we are paying into the EU.  If we wish to be part of the single market and/or the customs union, (whole of UK or part of it - NI and Gib, perhaps) that will cost a substantial amount (still to be negotiated and then agreed by parliament) each year (Norway, outside of the EU, pays 80% per person of what we pay per person, for example).  Subtract that payment from the saving of £7.1 billion per year and it may be that we will still be paying off the bill in 2050.  There will be no spare cash to give to the NHS until that time, whatever it said on the side of the Leave battle bus.

37.5% of the electorate voted for Brexit at the referendum, this was 27% of the population.  34.7% voted to remain.  UKEUP believes that the campaign was untruthful.  The single question did not give either the opportunity to express closer union or remaining in the EU but seeking a much better deal for the more impoverished in the UK.  There are many reasons why those who did not vote did not do so.  However the polls indicate that the whole electorate is becoming significantly more aware, now, of the issues and should there be a European Parliament election (which is highly likely), UKEUP wants to offer a real alternative to Brexit.  

It also wants to improve democracy and extend the franchise to those who had no vote (the 16-18s who had a vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum, those EU residents in the UK who had no vote, and the British citizens who live outside the UK).  We believe that the polls indicate that both the electorate and UK residents are against leaving the EU and therefore that the will of the people should be heard.

We have a unique opportunity in Europe to be influential.  We have unique opt-outs from any move towards a United States of Europe and to use our own currency.  If we leave and then, in 50 years return, such opt-outs are not likely to be back on the table.

Within the EU and NATO we have been part of a collaboration of states that has provided us with peace in the UK.  Whilst NATO has provided a military strength for peace, the EU has fostered an ever-growing collaboration, dialogue and friendships between cultures and peoples.  

It has given us the opportunity to travel and trade freely with 27 other countries.  We have been a key part of the EU team that negotiated reciprocal health, education, residence, travel, ownership and business start-up agreements.  We have agreed regulations on minimum wages, maximum working hours, health and safety and cross state research.  We have sought to opt-out when it is not in our interest, and to veto when we think it is not in the interest of the EU.

Our EU commissioners are appointed by the UK government which is democratically elected.  They are bound to represent the UK.

Our excellence in research, finance, design, leading-edge manufacturing, travel and tourism, farming, leadership and management contribute to the development and wealth of both the UK and the EU and enable us to support essential projects in the Third World.

Pierre Kirk