European Movement UK

Britain's future is with Europe! Join the debate and put your opinion forward!

The EU Referendum Campaign has called for a referendum on British membership of the EU. Here is their statement about EU membership, fisked.

1. Can we really afford to send £45 million a day to Brussels? ** this is the gross figure not the net figure, which implies that the referendum campaign wants to shut down the things that EU funds pay for in Britain, such as regional spending, support for Britain’s small farmers, research and development, etc ** Britain is Broke….That’s what the government told us…Isn’t that why our public services are being cut, our taxes are being increased and our pensions are crashing?

2. A torrent of EU laws are transforming our economy and public sector and there is nothing we can do about it. ** the EU agrees only around 490 laws a year, whereas Westminster produces around 3,500 annually – which one is the torrent? ** EU laws are imposed without us, or our MPs, having any say whatsoever. ** our MEPs have a say, as do our ministers, who are accountable to our MPs, and both MPs and MEPs are elected by the people ** Whether it’s the imposition of directives forcing us to privatise and break up our railway system, the Royal Mail and other key public services, ** there are no directives forcing privatisation – in France, both SNCF and La Poste remain in public ownership – the decision to privatise is national, not European ** new laws relating to the City of London ** do you not think that the financial markets need some new rules – has everything really gone perfectly recently? ** and small businesses, the voters of Britain should ultimately decide what policies they want – and do not want – through their elected representatives in parliament. ** our elected representatives in parliament do decide, that’s what the European Parliament is for ** Once EU laws are passed into law, they cannot be reversed. ** yes they can. A proposal from the Commission and majority in the Council and the EP can change any EU directive ** This is not democracy. ** Would it be democratic if one single member state could force the other 26 do something they did not want to do? **

3. Due to the crisis the Euro is now facing, the Brussels elite is demanding total control over the tax and spend policies of its member countries. ** the level of tax and spending is a matter for each member state to decide for itself – expenditure levels vary from 41% (Bulgaria) to 59% (Denmark) – there is no European control of this ** The unelected European Commission ** the president of the European Commission is elected by the European Parliament, and the other members of the Commission are confirmed in office by the EP ** is demanding the right to vet national budgets before elected parliaments are even allowed to see and debate them. ** no, it proposes that, given that the budgetary decisions that each EU member state takes have an impact on all the others, there should be analysis of those impacts as part of the budgetary process ** It also wants to the right to tax us individually: that is to say an EU level of tax we must all pay, additional to the money we already hand over to our government and local councils. ** the idea is that the money currently contributed to the EU budget by national governments be replaced by a European tax – it would make the level of EU expenditure more visible to the citizen and enable national governments to reduce the amount of tax they themselves raise. In order to be implemented, it would need the unanimous agreement of every member state. By the way, this idea that each level of government should be responsible for raising its own revenue is featured in The Plan, the book by Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan. **

4. What is the point of a meaningless referendum on Electoral Reform next May that will cost us £80 million and achieve nothing. ** the referendum might change the voting system to Westminster -that is surely not meaningless ** Why even consider changing the way we vote for our politicians when 75% of our laws are made in Brussels ** only about 10 per cent of laws originate in the EU ** and our MPs have no powers to influence those laws ** they can hold to account British government ministers for the way they vote in the Council of Ministers ** The real referendum has to be whether we want to be in or out of the European Union.

It’s a sad fact that Britain is sleepwalking into the European Super-State ** how can it be a super-state when its budget is only 1 per cent of GDP, its central administration has fewer employees than most city councils and it has no army ** and Britain must wake up to the nightmares hiding under the sheets of Brussels. EU laws and directives made without our knowledge or consent, ** the proposals are published by the European Commission, and become law with the consent of the Council (national governments) and the European Parliament (elected MEPs) – perhaps the newspapers should base permanent correspondents in Brussels rather than shutting down their offices there ** behind locked doors ** the Lisbon Treaty requires that the Council of Ministers should meet and vote on legislation in public ** or the most complicated clauses and sub-clauses imaginable. ** legally watertight documents have to be written in a particular way – this is true in Westminster too – but simplified explanations are also published **

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  1. “which implies that the referendum campaign wants to shut down the things that EU funds pay for in Britain, such as regional spending, support for Britain’s small farmers, research and development, etc **”

    -But we are NET contributors to the EU (£10 BILLION NET PER ANNUM BY 2015) so it is not the EU’s money that is being given back.

    -Without the rebate our net contribution per head would be nearly twice that of France or Germany.

    – 40% of the EU’s budget goes on the appallingly wasteful and protectionist common agricultural policies, with the EU’s agricultural surpluses dumped on Africa and runining their markets.

    Why give the EU part of the British taxpayers money only for the EU to give it back, telling us how it thinks we should spend it ? If we did not pay over the £45 million per day to the EU then Britain could decide how to spend that money with reference to the British electorates priorities and not the unelected EU Commission’s priorities.

  2. Examples of EU democracy in action :

    Dutch say ‘No’ to EU constitution

    “Provisional final results indicated that 61.6% of voters said “No” to the charter and 38.4% approved it.”


    “French say firm ‘No’ to EU treaty”

    “Almost 55% of people voted “No”, with 45% in favour. Turnout was high, at about 70%.”


    “Ireland rejects EU reform treaty”

    “Voters in the Irish Republic have rejected the European Union’s Lisbon treaty in a vote by 53.4% to 46.6%.”


    Ireland to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon European Union Treaty

  3. this is rich coming from an organisation which hasnt had its accounts audited for years. read the lisbon treaty to see how this propoganda works the other way


    Being Irish myself, no they didn’t. We voted and disagreed with certain provision’s, we then renegotiated our problem area’s and voted again. There was a higher turn out for the second vote. So which one was more valid?.

    And before you say there shouldn’t be a second vote, that’s not how we work our referendum’s, we have voted on many issue’s twice or more tie’s to tweak them.

  5. “this is rich coming from an organisation which hasnt had its accounts audited for years”

    A common complaint, but inaccurately directed.
    Perhaps you should look up the cause of that…..But I know you won’t, much easier to trot out a regurgitated line you picked up along your travels then dig for the answer that might not go down well.

  6. You ignore that we are net contributors to the EU, so stopping our gross contribution would mean plenty to cover existing EU subsidies and the ‘net’ amount on top.

    You ignore that our Ministers can be completely outvoted under QMV (now covering almost all policy areas), and our MEPs can also be completely outvoted – in both cases by majorities of people not elected by anyone here. Laws imposed on a country regardless of the views of their elected representatives in an area that is not a demos is not democracy. You simply have no case here.

    You say the decison to privatise is national, not European. But the railways directives certainly required the separation of network management from service provision and market-based operation. The postal directives require gradual ‘market opening’. This may not be ‘forcing’ a sell off, but the way the EU works is to in effect make privatising public assets the only real option.

    You say it wouldn’t be ‘democratic’ if one single member state could force the other 26 do something they did not want to do. But this highlights your fundamental misunderstanding of democracy – it does not exist at that level. A definition of democracy as simply the exercise of majority over minority applied on any scale and among any group is a hopelessly simplistic attitude presumably fostered more by your ideology than reality.

    You employ the usual tactic of saying that the cost of the EU is “only 1 per cent of [EU] GDP”, in order to make it sound small. But in real money that could achieve a big difference if employed differently, that’s actually quite a lot. Over 100bn euros, isn’t it? Hardly the small beer you portray it to be. Likewise your claim about staff numbers in the EU is irrelevant because its powers are largely exercised through national civil services. That doesn’t stop the EU’s central institutions also costing billions more to run than any city council.

    The EURC statement undoutedly has its faults. Some claims are far too lurid and inaccurate. But equally there are many problems with your highly selective critique sadly too numerous to elaborate in full here.

  7. No need for a referendum – we had a General Election this year here in the UK. All three major parties supported remaining in the EU, and they polled 89% of the vote. UKIP got 3% of the national vote.

    Last year we had the European Elections – UKIP polled 17%, presumably as their members turned out in force to vote.

    We have too much reliance on inward investment from European business to be on the outside. Would EADS continue to invest in Airbus facilities here in the UK if were to quit the EU for instance. BT has recently received ERDF money to help fund infrastructure development for super-highspeed internet access in rural areas. The North East of England is receiving a further £250 millions over the next 3 years. These are just some examples.

    Undemocratic? I get more feedback from my MEPs (including Catherine Bearder) than I do my MP (a certain Mr Cameron).

    I’m not saying the EU is perfect but there is too much cynical nonsense pedalled – straight bananas, offalled filled emuslified meat tubes et al.

    Glad to see that there is a positive EU campaign – isn’t the internet great!

  8. @Mike Hanlon wrote “A definition of democracy as simply the exercise of majority over minority applied on any scale and among any group is a hopelessly simplistic attitude presumably fostered more by your ideology than reality.”

    But that’s not my argument. In the case of the EU, we are not talking about “any scale” and “any group” but about a particular group of countries who have pooled their sovereignty for a particular set of issues. The pro-European case is that democracy among those countries for those issues is possible and desirable. Without the European Parliament, European decision-making would be in the hands of civil servants and diplomats meeting behind closed doors. Unless you are yourself a civil servant or a diplomat, that can’t be preferable.

  9. @ Richard Laming – IX

    You’ll notice that the sentence prior to the one of mine that you quoted says of democracy “it does not exist at that level”. I recognise that your argument pertains to European countries. I repeat; democracy does not operate at levels where there is no demos and you do not make a case that it can. The EU doesn’t even have a common language, nevermind a common political sphere and we have markedly diverse cultures. Something to be celebrated, but a reason why political union is not feasible. You simply assert that, despite these problems that actually relate to half of the word “democracy” – certain EU institutions somehow exercise it. I’m afraid it just doesn’t wash.

    Pretending that the EU is democratic in order to bolster an outdated centralising European State ideology is playing a very dangerous game with the future stability and prosperity of our continent. Peace surely depends far more on properly functioning, responsive democracy than glass palaces in Brussels full of technocrats. The EU may ostensibly have been brought into being to make wars between nations less likely – an admirable aim – but its proponents seem to have forgotten the other lesson from history that similar conflict can also occur between an ignored people and a remote elite. The larger the over-ruled group – particularly if they identify along cultural lines, such as nations – the greater the danger. I fear this is the dangerous direction in which EU political integration is taking us.

    We can already see within the euro crisis and the Lisbon Treaty’s ratification troubles how EU integration is today running out of control and beyond the bounds that Europe’s differences can tolerate. Yet the process rolls on. To my mind, all very dangerous indeed.

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