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UK opt-outs from EU legislation

by Mick 0 Comments

The UK has negotiated a number of exceptions (called opt-outs) from parts of EU legislation since it joined the EEC in the 1970’s.

Where the UK has negotiated such exceptions, the UK is not bound by EU rules in these areas, or has other special arrangements.

Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

The UK has special status within the Economic and Monetary Union and retains control over its own economic and monetary policy:

  • the UK is under no obligation to join the euro and will not join the euro;
  • the UK does not participate in the Banking Union, and therefore retains responsibility for the supervision of UK banks;
  • the UK cannot be penalised under EU rules, unlike other Member States who are part of the Economic and Monetary Union;

The UK’s voting rights in the European Council are suspended for issues relating to eurozone matters.

EU Budget rebate

The UK benefits from a reduction in the amount it pays into the EU budget;

Schengen Area

The UK is not a member of the Schengen border-free area, retaining control overs its own borders. (Protocol 19)

As a consequence, it is necessary to have your passport checked when entering the UK and possibly when entering other EU countries.

Justice and Home Affairs

The UK can choose whether or not to participate in new EU measures in the Justice and Home Affairs field. This means that the UK does not automatically take part in measures but can opt in to those that it considers to be in the national interest. (Protocol 21)

Charter of Fundamental Human Rights

The UK obtained a clarifying protocol, Protocol 30, which clarifies that the Charter does not extend the ability of the European Court of Justice to find UK law inconsistent with the Charter.

This exemption was obtained because of fears the Charter would infringe on UK labour law.

References:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jha-opt-in-and-schengen-opt-out-protocols

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opt-outs_in_the_European_Union#Economic_and_Monetary_Union_.E2.80.93_Denmark_and_the_United_Kingdom

How much does membership of the EU cost the UK

by Mick 0 Comments

Being a member of the EU costs the UK money, by way of a membership fee, but (arguably) also creates jobs, trade and investment.

According to a UK Parliament research briefing entitled

EU referendum: UK proposals, legal impact of an exit and alternatives to membership,

published on February 12 2016 and held in the House of Commons library

There is no definitive study of the economic impact of the UK’s EU membership or the costs and benefits of withdrawal. Many of the costs and benefits are subjective or intangible and a host of assumptions must be made to reach an estimate.

While the actual economic costs and benefits may be difficult to calculate at least we know what we actually pay for membership, or do we ?

For example, read the explanation found at

The UK’s EU membership fee

which attempts to make some sense from the different sources such as the Treasury, ONS and Europes own data from the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/budget/figures/2007-2013/index_en.cfm).

The BBC website also has a breakdown of the UK’s net contribution in 2015
http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zgjwtyc#zct3wxs

Overall, through these source and others, there appears to be a consensus that the UK’s contribution in 2015, can be broken down as follows:

Amount that we should pay into the EU: £18bn

less the UK rebate 1 : £5bn

less EU payments to the UK: £4.5bn

leaving a net contribution of £8.5bn

Assuming these numbers are accurate lets look at them further

£8.5bn is actually £8,500,000,000

which works out at over 23 million pounds a day

or almost 1 million pounds an hour

(It is also worth mentioning, as a comparison, that total Public Spending in the UK in 2015 totalled around £748 billion so that payments to the EU represent approximately 1% of this figure

http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_2005_2019UKb_F0t).


Update 14/04/2016

In a recently published research briefing

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN06455

there are details of the UK’s contributions to the EU budget from 2009 to 20015

UKContributions

A copy of the document can be obtained from

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06455/SN06455.pdf

Notes:

  1. The rebate was negotiated by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_rebate
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