The letter ‘EU reality’ in the June 19 Herald purports to add a little reality about the European Union (EU). In fact, the letter is laced with the usual misleading populist Euromyths.
The first claim is that the EU provides a subsidy to our farmers funded by British taxpayers. Our farmers are also funded by taxpayers in the other 27 EU member states. If the UK were not part of the EU, alone in the world trading system, it is unlikely the UK government would be allowed to maintain the same high level of subsidy that our farmers enjoy now.
Secondly, it is claimed that Britain’s fishing industry has been reduced to near extinction. The 40 per cent reduction in the numbers working in the fishing industry since we joined the EU is hardly an extinction of the industry. The industry would, however, be extinguished if international controls had not been introduced to preserve our stocks from overfishing.
The issue about overseas students has nothing to do with the EU. It is up to our Home Office to ensure that our educational institutions vet the students they accept properly.
The letter states ‘Strasbourg’s inexperienced third world judges’ have made Britain a dumping ground for foreign criminals. I am not aware of any ‘third world’ judges sitting in any court in Strasbourg.
It appears the writer is referring to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which is not part of the EU. I can only imagine the British co-founders of the ECHR would be dismayed to find their work, inter alia to protect the rights of British citizens against the excesses of foreign courts, being denigrated in this way.
It is also claimed that 75 per cent of our regulatory law is decided by Brussels.
In fact, a House of Commons study found only 15 per cent of our legislation is agreed by EU bodies. Even then, EU laws are co-decided by politicians directly elected by us. Our elected ministers serve on the European Council, and the European parliamentarians directly elected by us also influence and in some cases co-decide EU legislation.
Lastly, the writer speculates that we would be better off outside our current trading arrangements. In fact, we wouldn’t secure such good trade deals as we currently enjoy.
The UK has more clout in international trade negotiations by being part of the EU, which is the world’s largest trading bloc.
Alone, as the world’s ninth largest economy with only two per cent of global GDP, any deal we could secure would be sub-optimal, and would not be in the overall interest of our businesses and employees. We should not sell Britain short.
Eurosceptics will have to get their facts straight if they are to convince the wider population of their case to withdraw our country from the EU.
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