The United Kingdom: Exiting the European Union

April 24, 2014

The United Kingdom should leave the European Union, says Iain Mansfield, director of trade and investment at the United Kingdom's embassy in the Philippines.

Mansfield advocates the passage of a "Leaving the EU" bill. Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, member states must notify the European Council of their intent to leave the European Union. Two years after that notification, the EU treaties cease to apply to that country.

Additionally, he calls for a "Great Repeal Bill," which would conduct a review of all EU-related regulations and would repeal those that are burdening both the public and the private sector. For example:

  • The Working Time Directive, which governs the maximum work week, should be repealed. Repeal would give workers and employers more flexibility and it would reduce recordkeeping bureaucracy.
  • The EU ban on pesticides and fertilizers is largely based on hazard (simply looking at the severity of what could happen) rather than risk, which actually looks at the likelihood of something happening. These regulations should be replaced with ones that employ a scientific risk-based approach.
  • An EU directive establishing binding renewable energy targets should also be repealed. The rules reduce flexibility and do not allow member states to respond to changing circumstances and needs.

If the United Kingdom were to leave the European Union, Mansfield projects that the economy would see a £1.3 billion increase in its gross domestic product. And because it is a net contributor to the European Union, exiting will give the United Kingdom a £10 billion surplus, which should be used to reduce the budget deficit. Some of those funds would need to be spent on administrative costs in areas that had previously been under EU control.

The United Kingdom would have to put a great deal of energy into developing new trade agreements, as trade negotiations for EU states are conducted by the European Commission.

Source: Iain Mansfield, "A Blueprint for Britain: Openness not Isolation," Institute of Economic Affairs, April 9, 2014.

 

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