Arguments for the EU
The EU represents one of the greatest experiments in political history. For the first time nations have chosen to share aspects of their national sovereignty with an organisation that has the responsibility of bringing together all 28 member states and acting in their joint interest. Those who support the EU base a lot of their arguments on the themes outlined below.
The EU ensures peace and security
The European Economic Community was established with the intention of making the founding members co-operate by creating a common market. By integrating their markets countries would have to work together for economic success, making it almost impossible for them to wage war with each other. This rapidly evolved into a wider European Community and eventually the European Union. It is now almost inconceivable that a major European war will occur, something that was not the case at the end of either World War II or the Cold War. This has been achieved because European nations are now reliant on each other, with shared laws, shared political leadership from Brussels, and shared economic policies.
The EU gives us more power on the global stage
EU membership gives states increased influence on the global stage. Nations would find it easy to ignore any European nation acting on its own, but the combined influence of all 28 states acting together is harder to ignore. As other nations begin to club together in multi-national bodies, such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) or the African Union, it will become harder for individual European nations to make their voices heard without the support of the EU as a whole.
One example of this is in the World Trade Organisation, where global trading rules and standards are set and monitored. When the EU negotiates on behalf of its members it represents the world’s biggest market. As a result, other nations may be more willing to negotiate and reach better deals with the EU than they would with individual member states, as they see the rewards of gaining access to the EU market as much greater than the rewards of gaining access to any individual national market.
The EU makes us better off
In creating first the common market, then single market, the EU has been beneficial to the European economy. The single market is the world’s largest trading bloc with 508 million people generating £11.25 trillion in economic activity per year. Membership of the EU gives a country’s businesses and citizens access to the whole EU economy with very few barriers. There are no taxes on imports or exports within the EU. This boosts competition, encouraging businesses to be more efficient, reducing consumer prices and increasing choice. It also reduces costs to businesses and allows them to sell more abroad.
The EU is a means of international reform
The EU provides a platform for countries to work together to achieve solutions in areas where problems are international. The EU is currently working together to try and tackle climate change and to address the refugee crisis caused by the war in Syria.
Nations that look to join the EU are also encouraged to reform their national institutions in order to fit in with the European liberal democratic model. This encourages wider stability and improves people’s lives.