Thursday, 5 May 2016

Europe: stay or leave? Focus on fact - 5

Today’s fact: other countries have rights and interests just as much as we do. 

The anti-Europeans are so focused on what they see as OUR rights and interests that they have a real problem getting their heads round the idea that our European neighbours have THEIR rights and interests too.

A similar thing happened in the Scottish referendum. The pro-independence campaigners were so obsessed with their own interests, they could not understand that the rest of Britain would consider ITS interests and say: ‘No. You can’t keep the pound.’

Because the other EU countries are better at selling things to us than we are at selling things to them, we have a huge trade deficit, but to the anti-Europeans in their parallel universe, this weakness is a strength, for it means the rest of Europe will be desperate to offer us a stonkingly favourable trade deal. Unfortunately it does not work like that.

Europe sells about 8 per cent of its exports to us. One would not want to give that up, but if push came to shove, one could do without it. Between 40 and 50 per cent of our exports go to Europe. If we lost that, it would destroy our economy. In any post-Brexit negotiations, the rest of Europe will have the strong hand, and we will have the weak one. We will be the ones desperate for an agreement.

The anti-Europeans want a relationship with the rest of the Europe that gives us all the benefits of EU membership with none of the costs, and they blame any suggestion of a refusal to give in to their demands on spite. Europe would certainly be justified in feeling spiteful when you look at the constant vituperation it receives from the anti-Europeans, but spite is not the reason it will refuse the Brexiters’ demands. The reason is that it is not in the interests of the rest of Europe to concede them. 

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