With talks of a “brexit” looming large in the media, a lot of talk about what it will mean if the UK was to vote out of the EU, we thought it may be good to give a comment on what will really happen.
Over the weekend, we were discussing the EU referendum and three arguments stood out as to what will happen and what the EEA has meant for us as British Citizens.
- I run my own business in hospitality. Staying in the EU or voting leave will not harm my business but I have seen other businesses hit by the EU. For example, friends (other business owners) have seen their businesses go down because the EU did not stop China dumping steel into the EEA. The USA has added an import tariff to steel imports from China because it saw this unfairness from China and protected American Jobs. Because of the EU, we could not.
- “What you are voting for is UK sovereignty. You are voting to stay in or leave a political union of leaders and representatives that you British people did not elect. You are voting against a commission of unelected, elite men that nobody at all voted for and yet they make decisions on our behalf.”
- What would Brexit mean for immigration? – The EU is not financially good for us and we can compete outside the EU – http://fyre.it/eTdgsp.4
On 23 June 2016 British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 resident in the UK will vote to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. Also UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years will be able to take part in the EU referendum. Citizens from EU countries – apart from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus – will not be able to vote.
Whether you are eligible to vote or not, you are most probably still wondering what would happen in the case of Brexit. Some economists predict a 24% fall in the value of government assets and standard of living immediately after the referendum in case of an ‘out’ vote. Although EU nationals already living in the UK are unlikely going to be deported as a result of the EU referendum, there is a doubt they would still like to stay in the country after such a change in the UK economy.
There are three million EU nationals living in the UK. Two thirds of them have arrived since 1993 – with huge movements of workers from Eastern Europe after 2004. Two-thirds of EU nationals are working. You can read a new report on what kind of benefits EU migrants in the UK receive.
UK is one of 10 member states who pay more into the EU budget than they get out, only France and Germany contribute more. In 2014/15, Poland was the largest beneficiary, followed by Hungary and Greece.
The UK also gets an annual rebate that was negotiated by Margaret Thatcher and money back, in the form of regional development grants and payments to farmers, which added up to £4.6bn in 2014/15. According to the latest Treasury figures, the UK’s net contribution for 2014/15 was £8.8bn – nearly double what it was in 2009/10.
The National Audit Office, using a different formula which takes into account EU money paid directly to private sector companies and universities to fund research, and measured over the EU’s financial year, shows the UK’s net contribution for 2014 was £5.7bn.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said his summit deal includes two measures that will affect migration:
- The amount of child benefit EU workers can send to their home countries will be linked to the cost of living in the countries where the children live. New arrivals will not get tax credits and other in-work benefits straight away but will gradually gain access to them over a four year period at a rate yet to be decided.
- The UK can pull an emergency “brake” to cut in-work benefits from EU migrants for up to four years.
If the UK left the EU would UK citizens need special permits to work in the EU?
It would depend on the kind of deal the UK agreed with the EU after the EU referendum and exit. If it remained within the single market, it would almost certainly retain free movement rights allowing UK citizens to work in the EU and vice versa. If the government opted to impose work permit restrictions, as UKIP wants, then other countries could reciprocate, meaning Britons would have to apply for visas to work.
What about EU nationals who want to work in the UK?
It would again depend on whether the UK government decided to introduce a work permit system of the kind that currently applies to non-EU citizens, limiting entry to skilled workers in professions where there are shortages.
How long will it take for Britain to leave the EU after the EU referendum?
The minimum period after a vote to leave would be two years. During that time Britain would continue to abide by EU treaties and laws, but not take part in any decision-making, as it negotiated a withdrawal agreement and the terms of its relationship with the now 27 nation bloc. In practice it may take longer than two years, depending on how the negotiations go.
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Check out our take on the three main arguments about the Brexit,