The benefits of being in the European Union

Here are the economic benefits of being in the European Union. The EU also presents so many cultural and social reasons for staying.

Mindmap of the benefits of being in the European Union

Export trade

In 2017, around 44% of UK exports went to the EU.

Economic reasons for the EU

See the economic evidence for remaining in Kialo

European structural funds

European structural funds regions directly and invests 5 billion a year
Debate on Kialo: the difference between regional development funds and Common Agricultural Policy. The EU directly funds all areas. See the map from

EU-funded research

From UK Research and Innovation:

The European Research Area (ERA) includes all research policies in Europe with an international perspective.

The Framework Programme contributes to the further development of the ERA and its initiatives. The EU funding research, Horizon 2020, has a total budget of just over €70 billion between 2014 to 2020.

Horizon 2020 funds all types of actors involved in research and innovation and contains different schemes and mechanisms. It encompasses a three-pillar structure: Excellent Science; Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges.

Influence in Europe

Just as with standards, we influence European policy from within the EU. Once we leave, we will only be on the sidelines.

Johnson said May’s deal makes us a vassal state because it obliges us to adhere to European legislation. Surely it’s in our interest to remain and maintain our influence in Europe.

Deciding laws

Membership involves us in the decision mechanisms of the EU, thus participating in shaping our future.

Data transfer

After Brexit, the UK will be deemed a third country for data transfer.

Common agricultural policy

The Common Agricultural Policy compensates otherwise unviable operations. It contributes to regulating prices and volume of food sold across Europe.

Launched in 1962, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) embodies a partnership between European agriculture and society.

  • Aims to support and improve output, ensuring a stable supply of affordable food.
  • Helps European farmers earn a reasonable living
  • It tackles climate change and the sustainable management of natural resources.
  • Maintains rural areas and landscapes across the EU
  • Keeps rural economies alive by promoting jobs in farming, agri-food industries and associated sectors.

70 years of peace

The European Parliament and European Court of Justice foster democratic debate on matters which might otherwise flare into conflict. They have in the past. See the discussion around how the EU contributes to peace in Kialo.

Students Can Study Abroad

The indirect benefit is that we educate our children better. People are exposed to different cultures, ways of life and therefore become more open-minded and educated.

Standards and Norms

The EU coordinates standards and norms which level the trade playing field, thus allowing members to trade freely. See the importance of standards in Europe.

Customs Union

Being in the customs union means that when UK companies want to import from and export to European countries, they pay no customs duty and avoid administrative procedures.

Free movement of people

Established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, Freedom of movement and residence helps build European citizenship.

Internal borders were gradually phased out under the Schengen agreements. The adoption of Directive 2004/38/EC followed on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the EU.

Despite the importance of this right, substantial obstacles persist, ten years after the deadline for implementation of the directive.

Free movement of capital

The free movement of capital means no restrictions on the money you can take when you go abroad to live or to work.

Europe liberalised capital flows gradually. Restrictions on capital movements have now disappeared between the Member States and third countries. The principle requires no further legislation at either EU or Member State level.

Effect of Leaving the EU on the UK Economy

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimates that the cost of trade with the EU, especially in services, will increase after Brexit. This additional cost will harm living standards in the UK.

They estimate that if the proposed Brexit deal goes through, the gross domestic product will be around 4% lower than if the UK had stayed in the EU.

The effect is to reduce annual output by that of Wales or the financial services industry in London. GDP will drop by 3% per head of population or around £1,000 per year on average to people in the UK.

Freedom of movement for workers

People can go on holiday to other European countries, but can also freely go to another country to live and work if they so choose.

EU citizens and workers enjoy the freedom of movement.

  • This freedom includes the rights of movement and residence for workers,
  • the rights of entry and residence for family members, and
  • the right to work in another Member State on an equal footing with nationals of that Member State.

Restrictions apply in some countries for citizens of new Member States. The Court of Justice and case law shapes the rules on access to social benefits.

Free movement of goods

Eliminating customs duties and restrictions secures the free movement of goods, the first of the four fundamental freedoms which support the internal market.

The principles of mutual recognition, the removal of physical and technical barriers, and the promotion of standards were introduced to continue the completion of the internal market.

Mutual recognition of diplomas

The single market builds on these freedoms. They allow businesses and professionals to travel throughout the EU. European measures ensure recognition of degrees across the EU.

Clean Air Quality

The Clean Air Package aims to reduce air pollution substantially across the EU. The proposed strategy sets out objectives for reducing the health and environmental impacts of air pollution by 2030. It contains legislative proposals to implement stricter standards for emissions and air pollution.

The Commission published the communication on the ‘clean air programme for Europe’ on 18 December 2013. It included three legislative proposals on emissions and air pollution.

Climate Change Action

The European Union is committed to climate change action and urges member states to meet climate targets. The European Climate Change Programme is working on cutting greenhouse gas emissions substantially. And it encourages other nations and regions to do likewise.

Protected Food Status

The EU Protected Food Name Scheme identifies authentic regional and traditional foods of guaranteed origin. This system protects from imitation named foods or drinks registered at a European level throughout the EU.

Clean Beaches

Europe instigated a programme to improve the quality of all beaches via the blue flag programme.

The first European bathing water legislation (rivers or coastal), the ‘Bathing Water Directive’ came into force in 1975. Its main objectives are to safeguard public health and protect the aquatic environment in coastal and inland areas from pollution.

Health and Safety

Europe develops and coordinates EU-wide health and safety standards.

REACH regulations improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals. It also aims to enhance competition in the EU chemicals industry. It promotes alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances to reduce the number of tests on animals.

Research and Education

The EU funds and coordinates research in science, industry and social policy. See EU research and innovation

Investing in research and innovation is investing in Europe’s future. Research helps us to compete globally and preserve our unique social model. It improves the daily lives of millions in Europe and around the world. It aims to solve some of our biggest societal challenges.

EU support for research and innovation encourages cooperation in research which has led to breakthrough discoveries.

Overseeing taxation and funding

The EU levels the playing field by distributing funds in a mutually agreed manner.

The EU doesn’t take a direct role in collecting taxes or setting tax rates. National governments decide the taxes each citizen pays and how to spend them.

The EU does, however, oversee national tax rules to ensure the free flow of goods, services and capital around the EU. This legislation protects businesses in one country from an unfair advantage over another. It guarantees fair tax policy for consumers, firms or workers from other EU countries.

The EU Is Democratic

Leavers cite the democratic deficit in Europe. However, European institutions do discuss and vote on the law in parliament. The commission follows the due process through the council and the parliament. See how the European Union works.

How the European Union works from

However, the EU reaches into far more areas of public policy than its counterparts elsewhere.

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