The United Kingdom's position within the European community is something that is widely being debated in the media at the moment, probably because of the ongoing European Parliament elections (results are due by Sunday night).
On the back of the economic crisis and the recent MP expenses scandal (a newspaper systematically released stories day by day that revealed what politicians had been spending 'expenses' they are entitled to on - they range from duckhouses to moat cleaning as well as claims of tax evasion - BUT this isn't what I wanted this to be about!!!) Suffice to say, people are pretty outraged by politicians and this combined with the ongoing debate regarding immigration given the EU's open borders has meant that a lot of parties ran in the aforementioned European elections on a manifesto of "upping the draw bridge" to Europe.
Parties like No2EU, UKIP and even the BNP (an extreme far-right party) have made significant gains on the basis of a disillusionment with mainstream politics and politicians. However, I think the argument to pull the UK out of Europe is fundamentally flawed.
Firstly, the EU currently contains approximately 500m people in what is called the 'Single Market' because of the free movement of the factors of production across borders - including labour. This represents such a significant opportunity for businesses that it can not be understated in my opinion. Consumers also benefit as they can import European goods cheaper.
Secondly, I feel there are issues of overlapping social consensus that merit pan-European law. I feel this includes issues most fundamentally like discrimination on the basis of race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability. I also feel pan-European law is required on issues such as welfare and rights for workers.
Thirdly, while many people complain of too many immigrants coming to the UK especially from the Accession Countries (essentially the Eastern European former satellite states) they forget that many British people have taken the opportunity to go and work or live across European in it's entirety.
Finally, I feel that there is a definite need for a European solution to climate change (you could argue global, but its much more difficult to coordinate), international crime and the global economic slowdown. In this globalizing world an isolationist approach will get you nowhere.
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