Five reasons to stay in the European Union you just can’t argue with

5 reasons to stay in the EU you just can't argue with
Dark clouds threaten the EU – but the Union endures (Picture: Getty Images)

David Cameron has been upping the rhetoric on Europe, promising to resign as Conservative leader if he can’t get a referendum on a potential British exit by 2017. So why is his government so keen on the European Union?

Most of the arguments about the advantages of getting out of Brussels’ grip come from think-tanks and lobby groups. But it’s striking that the strongest advocates of sticking with the status quo actually come from Cameron’s own administration.

Here are the five biggest upsides to carrying on as we are in Europe:

1. We’re much better off in the EU

Yes, it’s the government’s own Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which puts the overall gain to Britain at six per cent of our gross domestic product.

This is at the extremes of the guesses in this continent-sized guessing game, though – some think-tanks think the EU costs Britain about the same amount.

2. We get to trade stuff with lots of Europeans

Trade stops wars. It also makes us a lot richer – and 50 per cent of all our trade is with the EU.

All those goods and services slushing around the continent have brought prosperity to a continent which, let’s face it, has had a pretty ropy history.

The process isn’t even complete, either – it’s hoped that finishing off the job of creating a truly single market could boost GDP by yet another seven per cent. According to the British government, of course.

5 reasons to stay in the EU you just can't argue with
EU foreign ministers meet to discuss the continent’s approach to the world. Our trade deals are much stronger through the EU (Picture: Getty Images)

3. There’s a chance your job could depend on the EU

OK, all the percentage points above might seem a little obscure. In fact they translate to something everyone can understand – jobs.

There are an estimated 3.5 million jobs in Britain which are linked, one way or another, to the UK’s trade with the rest of Europe.

Manufacturing would be hit especially hard. If Britain left the EU, the foreign companies which own most of Britain’s car factories, for example, would shift their business overnight.

4. Immigration isn’t all one-way

The free movement of people within the EU – and the huge immigration to Britain that results – is at the heart of the EU debate.

But your attitude to the issue might be influenced by where you live. In Rhondda in Wales, just 0.6 per cent of the population are arrivals from the EU. At the other extreme, in Tottenham in London, 17 per cent are EU immigrants. The strain on local public services is bound to be felt more there.

Plus, there’s a flipside to the immigration debate which doesn’t get talked about much: the 1.4 million Brits currently living in the EU who would be forced to return to their homeland if we left the EU.

A sudden influx of returning Brits would pose, at least in the short-term, just as big a challenge to local councils.

5. Leaving Britain would be catastrophic for wine-drinkers

Here’s the real killer, though. At least in the short-term, the cost of a bottle of plonk is going to sky-rocket.

If Britain left the EU, the cost of an imported bottle of wine would instantly jump by a third. In fact, all imports would be hit because the UK’s existing trade deals were all made via the EU at the World Trade Organisation.

Any car bought from overseas would instantly become ten per cent more expensive, too. Puts fuel duty into perspective, doesn’t it?

5 reasons to stay in the EU you just can't argue with
European Union map with 28 member states. Photo: 00Mate00/00Mate00

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21 May 2014 | 7:00 am – Source:

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