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The entry and exit of Britain from EU

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 and is now in an 11-month transition period. On December 31, 2020 UK would ceased to member of EU. During this period the UK effectively remains in the EU’s customs union and single market and continues to obey EU rules.

European Union (EU) international organization comprising 27 European countries and governing common economic, social, and security policies. Originally confined to Western Europe, the EU undertook a robust expansion into central and Eastern Europe in the early 21st century.

The treaty was designed to enhance European political and economic integration by creating a single currency (the euro), a unified foreign and security policy, and common citizenship rights and by advancing cooperation in the areas of immigration, asylum, and judicial affairs. The EU was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2012, in recognition of the organization’s efforts to promote peace and democracy in Europe. Promote peace and democracy in Europe.

EU objectives
  • To have a free and safe Europe with no internal borders.
  • To promote peace not only in Europe but also elsewhere in the world.
  • To ensure that the resources of the planet are used sensibly and that the environment is not destroyed.
  • To follows the Charter of the United Nations and underlines the importance of common international rules.
  • To ensure Europe’s sustainable and steady development
  • To seeks to create a competitive market economy which takes into account people’s wellbeing and social needs.
  • To achieve a skilled workforce and a high standard of technological production.
  • Respects the languages and cultures of the individual countries.
Historical background

The European Economic Community (EEC) or the Treaty of Paris, is the predecessor of today’s European Union. It was established in 1957 by France, West Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It was established to foster economic cooperation between European nations in the wake of World War- II. In 1961 United Kingdom made an application to join European Union but due to political isolation in Western Europe, this application was vetoed by the French Government. In 1967 UK made second attempt to join EU which was again vetoed by the France. During 1969 there was a negotiation for British membership. Finally United Kingdom joined EEC on 1st January 1973 with Denmark and Ireland. The Labour party initially sought renegotiation of membership. During 1975, the nation held referendum to decide whether UK should stay in the European community/common market that showed positive sign of staying, this has led the center-left Labour party split, over the issue with the pro-Europe wing splitting from the rest of the part to form the Social democratic party (SDP). During 1984 the conflict started between EEC & UK, when the conservative PM Margaret Thatcher gave an order to reduce British payments to the EEC Budget. The EU was designed to integrate Europe’s nations politically and economically, including a united foreign policy, common citizenship rights and (for most member nations, excluding UK) a single currency, the euro. Later in 1997 Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, was strongly pro-European Union tried to rebuild ties with the rest of the Europe. In 2007, after plans for an official EU constitution collapsed, the member nations finished negotiating the controversial Lisbon Treaty, which gave Brussels broader powers. In 2011, protecting Britain’s financial sector, David Cameron became the first UK Prime Minister to veto an EU Treaty; 2011. Against the backdrop of economic unrest in the Eurozone (territory of 19 EU nations having Euro) and an ongoing migrant crisis, UKIP and the other supporters of a possible British exit from the EU or Brexit increased over the past several years. In 2015, David Cameron went to work renegotiating the UK-EU relationship, including changes in migrant welfare payments, financial safeguards and easier ways for Britain to block EU regulations. In February 2016, he announced the results of those negotiations, and set June 23 as the date of the promised referendum. Following the referendum vote to leave the EU in 2016, the UK officially ceased to be an EU member state on January 31, 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement provided for a transition period lasting until December 31, 2020. During this time, very little has changed – including regarding EUTMs and RCDs. From January 1, 2021, these EU rights will no longer cover the UK.

Reasons of leaving EU
Protectionist trading block

The Single Market is a single protectionist zone where regulations are harmonized and all goods and services produced must satisfy these regulations whether or not they are sold in other member states. Only 8% of UK companies’ trade with the EU – accounting for around 12% of Gross Domestic Product – yet 100% of UK regulations are determined in Brussels, including for the 92% of UK companies that do not trade with the EU. The Customs Union, to which all EU member states belong, imposes more than 13,000 tariffs on imported goods. As a result, EU consumers are paying an average of 17% above world prices on food. UK goods exports to the 11 fellow founding members of the Single Market have grown over the years 1993-2015 at just 1% pa. Over the same period, UK goods exports to the 111 countries with which it trades under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules have grown at 2.88% pa, nearly three times faster. This helps to explain why UK exports to the EU has fallen from 60% to 44% of total exports since the Single Market was introduced. Services account for 80% of the UK economy but only 40% of the UK’s exports to the EU are services, amounting to just 5% of GDP. The result is a £28bn services surplus but a £95bn goods deficit with the EU, leaving an overall £67bn trade deficit in 2017.

Misallocation of resources

40% EU budget goes to farmers, mostly to the richest farmers with the largest farms. Yet agriculture accounts for only 1% of GDP across the EU. The Common Agricultural Policy encourages overproduction. The surplus production being dumped in overseas markets. A current example is the dumping of tinned tomatoes in Africa, in particular Ghana, which leads to a significant distortion to the local market and a reduction in the income of Ghanaian tomato farmers.

Anti-democratic attitude

There should be ‘double democracy’ in the EU, represented by the European Council and the European Parliament. However in reality the EU is run by the unelected bureaucrats of the European Commission who run rings around ministers from national governments as well as EU parliamentarian. The appointment of Martin Selmayr as secretary-general of the European Commission in February 2018 is the best example. He keep Northern Ireland in the EU’s regulatory orbit as the ‘price’ that the UK must pay for Brexit. In 2011, Brussels removed national elected governments in Italy and Greece and replaced them with ‘technical governments’ run by Eurocrats – Mario Monti, a former EU commissioner, in Italy, and Lucas Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank, in Greece.

Nature of law

It allows the European Court of Justice to interpret and reinterpret the wording of EU laws in line with the European Commission’s (often changing) intentions. This contrasts with the clarity and precision of English laws. A further issue relates to the EU legal convention that everything is prohibited unless it is permitted, which requires constant appeals to the ECJ to grant permission. This contrasts with the English common law tradition where everything is permitted unless it is prohibited.

Introduction of Euro

Across a group of countries whose economies were so disparate that the operation of a single monetary policy with a single Eurozone interest rate was inevitably going to lead to a pattern of booms and busts in the peripheral states when the interest rate is set to meet the needs of core economies, such as Germany. In addition, the way in which exchange rates were fixed at the start of monetary union resulted in Germany joining at too low an exchange rate, while the peripheral countries joined at too high an exchange rate.

This inevitably led to the mainly northern members of the Eurozone, especially Germany, building up large trade surpluses and the southern members, such as Italy and Spain, building up corresponding deficits. This, in turn, has encouraged capital flight from Italy and Spain to Germany by savers fearful of the solvency of their banks.

Ageing population

Resulting from a combination of rising life expectancy and declining fertility. Europe’s share of the world’s population will fall from 7% today to 4% by 2100 and 90% of global economic growth over this period will occur outside the EU.

Separatist movements

It is believed that these regions can become ‘independent’ members of the EU ‘with a seat at the top table’. Current examples are Scotland, Catalonia and Corsica. Some might argue that the EU secretly welcomes this fragmentation of the nation state so that it can concentrate even more power in Brussels. It certainly prefers to talk about ‘a Europe of the regions’, rather than ‘a Europe of nation states’. People are prepared to defend their family and their country.

Euroscepticism

The Visegrád Group, comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, is challenging the authority of Brussels by refusing to accept migrant quotas imposed by Brussels. Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, has said: ‘All the institutions of the EU have utterly failed. Neither the European Commission, nor the European Council, nor the European Parliament protected the Schengen Treaty’. Some members of the Group are even proud to call themselves ‘illiberal democracies’. Euroscepticism has now spread to Western Europe, in particular Italy, a founding member of the EU.

Tension between Russia and the Ukraine

As a result of its 2014 ‘Association Agreement’ with the Ukraine, which Russia interpreted as an encroachment on its sphere of influence. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the agreement as Ukraine’s ‘first but most decisive step towards EU membership’.

End result

The EU’s accounts have not been approved for the last 20 years by the EU’s chief auditor in respect of around pound 100 billion of expenditures. Governed as it is from a centre run by unelected bureaucrats and judges rather than politicians, it is readily apparent that the EU is incapable of reforming itself. As an institution driven by process rather than outcomes, it is drowning in its own rules and this is stifling innovation and Europe’s future.

The author, Nazir Ahmed Shaikh, is a freelance columnist. He is an academician by profession and writes articles on diversified topics. He could be reached at [email protected]

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