Advantages of Membership:
Benefits of the UK Remaining in the EUThe Economic Benefits to the UK of Remaining in the EUThe Power of Solidarity: Why the UK Should Stay in the EUConsumer PowerThe Promotion of Regional and National DemocracyCrime Fighting Within the EU: Why Should the UK Stay in Europe?
On Thursday 23rd June 2016 the UK will vote either to remain in or leave the European Union1. The "Brexit" camp are arguing for the UK to leave the EU ('Brexit'). This page is a simple introduction to some of the reasons to remain ('Bremain'). There are several categories still to add to this page, and I aim for weekly updates.
The UK requires increased immigration in order to continue to function due to our ageing population. Our industries, welfare system, pensions and economy need more young workers imported from abroad.
Immigrants pay much more in taxes than they take as benefits. The Economist found this to be true in 20073 and it is true today.
Open labour markets benefit entire economic regions. The opposite - the nationalist raising of labour barriers against foreigners - has the same effect as trade tariffs: to distort the market, reduce wage efficiency and harm the economy as a whole. Ironically, attempting to secure "local jobs for local residents" has the effect of shrinking the economy, therefore reducing the long-term number of overall jobs.
Our ageing population is putting massive strain on pensions and welfare4: this can only be helped by accepting working-age immigrants. In the last 35 years (up to 2007) the over-65s demographic group grew by 31%, the fastest of all age groupings5, whilst the under-16s shrunk from 26% to 19% of the total population5. "Each increase in life expectancy of one year adds about £12 billion to the aggregate pension liabilities of FTSE 100 companies"6. Pensions will continue to become increasingly costly, their benefits to be squeezed. The occasional addition of new states to the EU bloc are met with a healthy influx of young workers, balancing the demographic scales and helping to keep welfare systems and pensions afloat.
Cheap labourers work in industries that our population avoid such as construction and food processing7.
Nearly half the new doctors and nurses employed in the National Health Service have qualified abroad10 and we still have shortages of medical staff.
Immigrants use fewer NHS services than Brits because they are younger11 and tend to go home before they age. Through taxes, they contribute (much) more to the NHS than they take. Obesity, smoking and drinking are much costlier to the NHS than immigration.
Freedom Against Arbitrary Barriers: In the modern world, people are free to do as they please as long as they trespass against no laws. There is no reason to arbitrarily inhibit people's travel simply because locals do not like their culture.
And two other points:
Island History: As a nation we are poor at learning languages, was founded by immigrants and have an imperial history wherein we forced many to Britain as slaves12. 9% of Brits work abroad13 and there are 1.3 million British expats in Europe according to a United Nations estimate14. So there is a horrible, ignorant and hypocritical bent to much of the anti-immigrant rhetoric used by some of our less reasonable compatriots.
Source: Ipsos MORI poll (2016)15.
Much of the UK is misled by sensationalist news articles on immigration16. Even pro-European Brits think there are twice as many EU immigrants than there really are - which is 5% of the population15. Likewise, there are over 700,000 employment benefits claimants in the UK, but despite outcry in the press, the vast majority are British. For example, only 10,730 come from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia combined, and, there are at least 30,000 British citizens claiming benefits in the EU, often receiving more generous payments than foreigners do in the UK17.
More: The above bullet points are the summary from: The Benefits to the UK of Immigration.
Increased World Power: Europe faces serious political challenges from Russia, China and in the Middle East. When the EU speaks with a single voice, entire regions of the world can be swayed18. The UK simply cannot influence the world in the same way when standing alone.
> > See: The Power of Solidarity: Why the UK Should Stay in the EU.
Promotion of regional democracy: The carrot of EU membership pushed several European countries into democracy as a result of the Copenhagen Criteria for membership (democracy, free market economy, observance of human and minority rights, and political stability)19,20,21. This continues today, with Ukraine and Turkey enacting reforms to enable closer ties with EU (if not actual membership). The UK, standing alone, exerts no such positive influence.
> > See: The European Union and the Promotion of Democracy.
“Nation-states, some argue, are too small to be able to influence global change, and too large to respond effectively to the pressures for increased flexibility and competitiveness, or as Giddens put it 'too small to solve the big problems, but also too large to solve the small ones'.”
We clearly need multinational governmental bodies to control multinational corporations. Not only will this bring capitalism back under the protective arms of democracy, but it will also solve the second problem identified by Held and Giddens: It will allow national governments to concentrate more on the small problems of national well-being.
> > See: Multinational Corporations Versus Democracy: The Fight Between Commercialism and Nation States.
Access to free emergency health care32 via the European Health Insurance Card. "EU membership... gives UK citizens travelling in other European countries the right to access free or cheaper public healthcare"33. When Europeans use the UK's NHS, their governments pay (just like the UK government pays when Brits use healthcare services abroad)34 - in this sense, there is no such thing as 'health tourism' within the EU35. The deal is that EU citizens pay local prices for healthcare, and countries cannot charge foreigners more. In other words, the EU's scheme on healthcare is good for all travellors, and fair for all.36
The Erasmus programme allows students to study for short periods of time in any EU country, providing a rich choice of valuable experiences for tens of thousands of UK students37. "The possibility to study abroad is considered positive by 84% of EU citizens"38. The programme has replaced and massively simplified a historical mesh of inter-country agreements with a single framework.
The UK does not have the bargaining power to achieve this on its own and cannot extend its jurisdiction into the EU once we leave. Imagine the massive time and effort, and constant disagreements, which would result from attempting bilateral deals on a country-by-country basis to achieve the same rights.
These bullet points are abbreviated from The Economic Benefits to the UK of Remaining in the EU; click each one for details and references.
European Union bodies such as Eurojust and Europol help us easily work with all other EU countries to combat terrorism and "to tackle international organised crime such as drug smuggling, people trafficking and money laundering"26. The EU is uniquely placed to be able to monitor terrorists' financial transactions, international fraud and the movement of criminals from country to country40. The European Arrest Warrant simplified the system for the UK to reach into Europe to prosecute criminals and sped up the process from a year to just 48 days on average26,41. Likewise as a member of the EU it is easier for other countries to extradite their criminals from the UK so they can face justice at their home countries' expense. In 2014, the UK made more requests for European Arrest Warrants than any other EU member42, and we are also the 4th largest user of Eurojust, requesting 107 cases43. A head of the UK's Association of Chief Police Officers warns that if we left the EU "criminals would see Britain as a safe haven ... as it would take longer to extradite them"44. And a former head of the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK says "we rely very heavily on the EU criminal justice measures [especially with] terrorism, people trafficking, cyber-crime, sexual exploitation, trafficking of children and paedophilia"45. The ability for EU member states to share information and co-ordinate responses in several countries at once is "vital to the UK's security"46. The more support we give the EU, the better its crime-fighting ability is, and, the more we get out of it in return, as one of the heaviest users of EU's judicial services. There are many such hidden benefits to being a member of the European Union.”
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is not part of the EU48. Thankfully, this means that if we left the EU the mass of case law that has built up around the ECHR will still remain valid. And, therefore, despite what many believe, leaving the EU will not reverse any of the "barmy" decisions made by the ECHR. In many cases that are reported in the UK media, cases that look daft are perfectly reasonable, but the sensationalist angle taken by the media serve to distort and scapegoat the ECHR. All decisions are scrutinized carefully for their long-term effects and for the purpose of justice - but the way they are reported sometimes, you'd think decisions were made simply for the purpose of creating ludicrous surreal entertainment. Always read deeper than what is portrayed in the tabloids before coming to conclusions. This point is especially made by the requirement for me to even include this section on this page: most people are misled into thinking the ECHR is part of the EU because tabloids are so lazy with their presentation of facts.
By Vexen Crabtree 2016 Apr 30
(Last Modified: 2017 Jan 03)
Parent page: United Kingdom: National Successes and Social Failures
The Guardian. Respectable and generally well researched UK broadsheet newspaper. See Which are the Best and Worst Newspapers in the UK?.
The Independent. Respectable and generally well researched UK broadsheet newspaper. See Which are the Best and Worst Newspapers in the UK?.
The Economist. Published by The Economist Group, Ltd. A weekly newspaper in magazine format, famed for its accuracy, wide scope and intelligent content. See vexen.co.uk/references.html#Economist for some commentary on this source.
(2016) Europe & You: South West. Dated January / February 2016. A newspaper-style leaflet delivered to homes in the South West. Published by The In Campaign Ltd, London, UK. This body resulted from debates surrounding UK's possible exit from the EU, with a vote being held in 2016 Jun 23.
Alston, Philip. Professor of Law at New York University and Director of its Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. Editor of the European Journal of International Law since 1997.
(2005, Ed.) Non-State Actors and Human Rights. Hardback. Academy of European Law. European University Institute in collaboration with the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University School of Law. Published by Oxford University Press.
(2005) Democracy: A Beginner's Guide. Published by Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK.
(2004, Ed.) A Globalizing World? Culture, Economics, Politics. 2nd edition. Originally 2000. Published by Routledge for The Open University.
(2003) Political Ideologies. 3rd edition. First edition 1992. Published by Palgrave MacMillan.
HM Government (UK)
(2016) Why the Government Belives that Voting to Remain in the European Union is the Best Decision for the UK. Published to argue the government's position ahead of the UK referendum on EU membership on 2016 Jun 23. Published in 2016 Apr, and delivered to households nationwide.
(2003) European Union Law. 3rd Edition. Published by Lexis Nexis, UK. Margot Horspool is professor of European and Comparative Law at the University of Surrey; Fellow of the Centre for the Law of the European Union, University College London and professor at the College of Europe.
(2004) No Logo. Originally published 2000, HarperCollins, London, UK.
(2000) Sword and Scales: An Examination of the Relationship Between Law and Politics. Hart Publishing Ltd, Oxford, UK. Prof. Loughlin is Professor of Law at the University of Manchester, UK, and Professor of Public Law-elect at the London School of Economics & Political Science, UK.
The Financial Times
(2013) Britain and the EU: In or Out?. This ebook is drawn from articles originally published in the Financial Times between 1975 and March 2013.