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Quotes on Britain's Future in the EU

April 5, 2016 10:17 AM
By Nick Hopkinson
Originally published by Liberal Democrat European Group

European Union flag

Brexit will harm the UK economy

"the prospect of leaving (the EU) is the biggest domestic risk to financial stability because, in part, of issues around uncertainty … some City firms would leave the UK in the event of Brexit." Mark Carney, Governor, Bank of England evidence to an 8 March 2016 House of Commons committee quoted in the Financial Times 9 March 2016, p.3.

"Leaving the EU would be a disaster for the next generation of Britain's entrepreneurs." Baroness Lane-Fox quoted in the Evening Standard, 25 January 2016.

"if it weren't for people from outside this country, every single one of my businesses would close tomorrow." Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef interviewed on Channel 4 News 27 August 2015

"Leaving the EU would mean supply chains flowing less smoothly resulting in additional costs." Paul Kahn, Airbus UK chief executive quoted in the Financial Times, 4 March 2016, p. 4.

Brexit will disrupt UK trade

"These days protectionism tends to operate not through the crude and old-fashioned mechanism of high tariff walls, but via regulation. In order to trade, countries have to accept one another's standards and laws, and in so doing, they automatically cede some sovereignty. Large trading blocs such as the US and EU use these regulations as a form of economic imperialism. Countries that refuse the EU's obligations are denied full access to its internal market." Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph, 4 March 2016

"Britain's exports to the EU represent 12% of our GDP while the rest of the EU's exports to Britain represent just 3% of their GDP… we need them more than they need us. They could play hard ball (in negotiations). We couldn't … if they limited access to the single market which accounts for 44% of our exports, we would be hit badly… if we didn't get a trade deal, (our fall back) would be the WTO … (which) works well for goods (where the Germans are strong) and doesn't do much for services (where the UK is strong). We wouldn't be able to to restrict good services and they'd be pretty much free to shut us out of their services markets."
- Hugo Dixon, In Facts 10 March 2016

"leaving the EU would mean renegotiating 124 trade deals plus one redefining (our) own trade status as a third country with the EU (the EU currently has Preferential Trade Agreements with 52 countries and is negotiating agreements with another 72). The UK would be excluded from the ongoing EU negotiations with the US, Japan and China. While Brexit supporters might argue the UK would have more flexibility when negotiating alone, it is also likely that its bargaining power be considerably reduced compared to that of the EU… A YouGov/CBI 2013 poll found 86% of UK businesses said Brexit would have a negative or very negative impact on the UK's access to EU markets and 82% said it would negatively affect the UK's ability to participate in EU supply chains. Importantly, 43% of respondents said Brexit would also negatively affect the UK's access to non-EU markets and non-EU supply chains." Pia Hutti and Silva Merler

"Some people in the UK may regard the world as revolving around the Old Empire. Ask the (former colonies) and you will know that this is not true." Lord Meghnad Desai, OMFIF commentary, 9 March 2016

Brexit will harm British science

"if the UK leaves the EU and there is a loss of freedom of movement of scientists between the UK and Europe, it will be a disaster for UK science and universities … Switzerland is now failing to attract young talent and … has limited access to EU funds because it voted to restrict free movement of workers." Professor Stephen Hawking and 150 fellows of the Royal Society, letter to the Times 10 March 2016

"For academic science, the EU's most important role is to provide an alternative funding stream to the government's research councils. Between 2007 and 2013, UK researchers received 8.8 billion euro from the EU, whereas the country contributed 5.4 euro billion to EU research." Financial Times 1 March 2016

"because of the excellence of our research base, we end up winning an outsized slice of EU research programmes (UK puts in 12 % and we receive 15%) … EU countries are nearly half of our overseas collaborations ." Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, Ask Boris in Financial Times, March 2016

EU Regulations will still apply if we leave the EU …

EU rules are often regarded as being onerous when in fact pensions auto-enrollment and the apprenticeship levy are currently more challenging (and homegrown).

"Outside the EU, Britain would lose influence over rules that would still affect the UK." Sir Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor, Bank of England quoted in the Financial Times 9 March 2016, p.3
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"leaving would lead to disruption, expense and significant regulatory burdens for a new authorization system." UK Life Sciences CEOs in their 1 March 2016 letter to the Financial Times

"we believe it would be better for our industry and our business if the UK remained within the EU. It is likely asset managers will need to comply with EU rules to continue to access the European market, even if we were to exit". Henderson Investment Management spokesman quoted in FTfm 29 February 2016, p. 6

We shall lose sovereignty if we leave …

The choice of 'we are sovereign outside the EU' versus 'we are not sovereign inside the EU' is a false one. No nation is sovereign in the conventional sense in today's inter-connected global economy. We pool, not lose, and enhance our sovereignty through membership in international organisations like the EU and NATO. Eurosceptics strangely single out leaving the EU, but never mention leaving the other 3,000 international organisations and thousands more international associations and standards setting bodies which shape and benefit the UK.

Nor do the Leavers talk of amending or rescinding some 13,500 international Treaties 'limiting' UK sovereignty which we signed since 1834 (as Dominic Grieve, former Attorney-General, discovered).

"sovereignty is about getting things done (in our own national interest)." Prime Minister David Cameron, February 2016

The UK's security will be jeopardized…

The European Arrest Warrant enables criminals to be extradited and prosecuted across borders. The UK has secured the agreement of all EU states to share air passenger data.

"There is no doubt amongst security experts that international co-operation through the EU contributes to (our) safety. The EU helps keep Londoners safe by sharing information across member states, implementing tougher controls at airport security, and through the European Arrest Warrant. More than 7,000 suspected criminals have been deported to Europe as a result of the warrant while more than 1,000 who fled to the Continent have been returned to face justice." Four former Home secretaries (Straw, Clarke, Smith and Johnson) quoted in the Evening Standard, 7 March 2016, p. 4

A vote to Leave the EU is a vote to end the United Kingdom

"A vote to leave the European Union against Scotland's wishes would 'almost certainly' trigger another independence referendum." Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minster quoted in the Independent, 21 February 2016

While the Irish border remains a political and legal fact, it has been disappearing for all practical purposes. There has been a revival of north-south business with about 3 billion euro of goods crossing the border each year.

"A British decision to leave the EU could yet make the old dividing line with Ireland the new external frontier of the EU … The Irish border has never separated an EU member from a non-EU member. So passport checks and checks on the free movement of goods and services may have to be set up on both Irish and Scottish borders." Jack Schikler, In Facts, 1 March 2016

Workplace and Gender rights will be undermined by Brexit

Europe has helped women and promoted rights in the workplace:

"working people have a huge stake in the referendum because (their) rights are on the line. Significant employment rights gains continue to accrue to UK workers as a result of our EU membership. (these include) access to paid annual holidays, improved health and safety protection, rights to unpaid parental leave, rights to time off work for urgent family reasons, equal treatment rights for part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, rights for outsourced workers, and rights for workers' representatives to receive information and be consulted, particularly in the context of restructuring … Evidence suggests that in the years ahead, remaining in the EU may provide significant opportunities to extend employment protections." Trades Union Congress (TUC) report, March 2016

"EU law has banned discrimination between women and men and enshrined the principle of equal pay for equal work. Women who become pregnant cannot be treated differently and have the right to take paid leave from work to visit a doctor. Mothers across Europe have the right to at least 14 weeks maternity leave and a minimum of four months off to care for newborn children. UKIP and right-wing Conservatives have made it clear that the first thing they want to do if the UK leaves Europe is tear up many of these hard-won protections." Catherine Bearder MEP, New Statesman, 8 March 2016

And if we leave the EU …

Economic size matters in international trade which is why both small and large economies seek to create large economic blocs. China, India and Australia are seeking to conclude a new regional trade agreement with 10 ASEAN countries, and talks have begun in Africa to merge existing sub-regional arrangements into a continent-wide trade pact. Why should the UK uniquely want to go against this trend?

Two Cabinet Office's 4 March 2016 in two reports (here and here) concluded renegotiating the UK's international arrangements could take a decade and no alternative arrangement offers the UK a better deal than our current EU membership.

"While the Leave campaign argues Britain could introduce restrictions on EU immigration without forfeiting access to the EU single market, officials in Brussels and national capitals insist no such arrangement is on offer if the UK breaks away." Financial Times, 8 March 2016, p. 3

There will inter alia be a shortage of workers in health care, fruit picking, construction and financial services if we leave the EU.

The Pound has fallen 10% against the dollar since the beginning of the year, largely on Brexit fears. HSBC predicts a further 15-20 % fall in sterling in the event of a vote to leave. Reported in the Financial Times, 2 March 2016, p. 4

"Leaving would mean embroiling the Government for several years in a fiddly process of negotiating new arrangements, so diverting energy from the real problems of this country." Boris Johnson in the Daily Telegraph, 7 February 2016

Yorkshire saying: "when in doubt, do nowt."

If we vote leave, we lose control.

Britain is stronger, safer and better off remaining in the EU.