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People get obsessed about the £9 billion a year we pay the EU, as if we get nothing in return. But just because something can't be quantified in pounds and pence, doesn't mean it's worthless!
Our EU membership has given us...
- Longest unbroken period of peace in European history
- Freedom for UK citizens to visit, work, live and retire in the EU, own property, open bank accounts and set up companies there.
- Single market and customs union underpinning over £600 billion in trade
- Free trade deals with over 70 countries
- Just in time manufacturing that supports millions of jobs, thanks to no customs checks or complex procedures
- Scientific and academic collaboration
- Shared space exploration
- Participation in the Galileo GPS satellite cluster
- Driving licenses valid all over the EU
- Car insurance valid all over the EU
- Pet passports to make travel with pets simple
- Simplified fixed compensation scheme for flight delays and cancellations
- European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- Mobile roaming (calls, texts and data) at home prices
- Portable streaming services (can watch Netflix etc. all over the EU)
- Erasmus student exchange programme
- Simplified VAT reverse charge mechanism for those selling across the EU
- Safer food
- Cleaner beaches
- Courses for the unemployed funded by the European Social Fund
- Disaster relief funding e.g. the 60 million euro we received for flood relief in 2017
- Free movement for musicians and instruments, bands and equipment, artists and materials etc.
- Enhanced environmental protections
- Court of last resort (ECJ)
- Security cooperation and sharing of crime/terrorist databases
- EURATOM for medical isotopes
- Service providers (e.g. freelance translators) can offer their services to clients all over the EU
- No UK VAT or duty on imports from the EU (great for online shopping)
- EU citizenship (it's a thing - look it up!)
- Cross-border collaboration on taxes, e.g. to hold huge firms like Amazon and Facebook to account more than we otherwise could
- Venture capital funding
- A bigger presence on the world stage as a key part of the largest trade block in the world
- Use of EU queues at ports and airports
- Products made or grown in the UK can be sold in 31 countries without type approval, customs duties, phytosanitary certificates etc.
- Protection from GM food and chlorinated chicken
- Objective 1 funding for deprived areas
- Financial services passport, enabling firms in the City to service the whole EU market
- Strong intellectual property protections
- Baseline of worker protections (which we can always improve on)
- Enhanced medical research
- A friend to cosy up to against the might of the USA and China
- Source of workers, making an important contribution to our NHS, construction, hospitality and dozens of other sectors
On your way out, please consider taking a peek at my book... 'Slaying Brexit Unicorns' is now available as a paperback from Amazon. It busts two dozen Brexit myths, and examines the dangers of no deal and the reality of trade on WTO terms. Thanks!
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