The EU is the world’s largest trading unit. Its GDP represents 23.2 percent of world GDP. This is far bigger than the USA. In 2012 EU-28 had a combined GDP of $16.72 Trillion. The USA was then $15.68Trillion. The UK has a GDP of some $2.44Trillion, rather small in comparison. India’s GDP is $1.62Trillion.
These figures come from the World Bank given in Wikipedia.
Whatever may be said about China’s economy, it should be recalled that EU is twice the size of China’s GDP which is at $8.36Trillion.
In global terms the UK has 3.5% of world GDP.
That is relatively small but changes to the present structure, if not handled with care, could cause serious global disruptions. Major transatlantic trade negotiations with the USA are under way to create a free trade area. What if the UK pulls out of the EU? How can these trade vectors continue to Britain’s advantage? The EU says that each family budget will gain 500 euros at the end of the negotiations. Will Britons lose out? Will it have enough political beef to conduct its own negotiations to at least the same level of success?
The great danger is that EU renegotiation of the UK might well cause major disruption to world trade and international legal agreements, unless far-sighted measures are undertaken to make the process as smooth and as problem-free as possible.
How can UK avoid looming challenges elsewhere? Take a look inside the UK. Two referendums are on the books, one for membership of the EU, the other in Scotland for independence from the UK. Others might come fast and furious after this, once the voters have a taste for referendums as a means to redress the balance against unpopular politicians who seem to ignore public opinion.
British exit from the EU might exacerbate national tensions within the United Kingdom. Will Britain break up? The UK might be reduced to separate regional nations of England, Wales and N. Ireland. The Scottish government has declared it wishes to remain inside the EU. No solution for Whitehall that does not take into account the possibility of an independent Scotland remaining inside the EU (or for that matter an independent Wales, and N Ireland separately or as a single entity) is acceptable.
While the British government in London’s Whitehall might have to calm fears at home, it needs also to pour oil on troubled waters with Brussels. No solution that leaves Britain and the EU as antagonistic forces after negotiation can be judged successful. How can peace and harmony be assured? Articles 49 and 50 on entry and exit of the EU in one of the two Lisbon Treaties are full of traps and complications to wreck the unwary. (These can be discussed later. )
The first vital priority for both British politicians, bureaucrats and the public is to get informed about what the European Community is and what the European Union is and what it isn’t.
Major technical and legal problems for exit are too often ignored. The European system that Britain entered in 1973 did not include the European Union (EU). The latter is an expansion, and a grossly deformed and distorted one at that, of just one of three European Communities, the European Economic Community or Customs Union. It came with the Maastricht Treaty that was rejected by the Danish electorate. (It had to vote again but many Member States did not even get that chance of one referendum.)
The very first principle of the supranational Community system is that the publicly expressed opinion on the constitution and exercise of powers is sovereign. Politicians buried that document they all signed up to in the French Foreign Ministry archives for half a century! What sauce! Robert Schuman‘s main aim was to create a peace-enhancing European economy. He provided the means for a thorough-going Democracy. Charles de Gaulle who seized power in France in 1957 put that on ice but did not destroy the potential to construct real European democracy.
The supranational Community system was first blocked by de Gaulle with his policy of wrecking it by stealth then a policy of the empty chair (boycott), followed by closed-door arm-twisting of small States, until the Council of Ministers became his poodle. Today too many government leaders act like ‘little Gaullists’ as they cut ‘package deals’ for themselves behind closed doors without public approval or knowledge.
The British still feel riled by Continental attitudes typified by de Gaulle looking down his long nose and saying ‘NON’ to the UK, very undiplomaticly at a press conference as a minor question of French policy. Today’s politicians have yet to reform the anti-democratic measure Europeans were forced to swallow at that time with its wine lakes, beef and butter bergs as de Gaulle and other national leaders took European taxpayers money to subsidize their own national policies. The Euro is the latest scam by nationalist politicians who corrupt decent politics and debase money as a store of value.
Britain’s policy was also typified by ignorance and antagonism by its bureaucrats in London, Whitehall. (That is not unusual for bureaucrats. The French ministry, the Quai d’Orsay, were among Schuman’s greatest opponents. Both were happier with the status quo, treating all other Europeans as foreigners to be exploited for the national interest that they, the bureaucrats, defined.) Schuman’s democracy should give free voice to European industry, workers and consumers, to regions and national parliaments.
Whitehall has shown its profound ignorance about the European Community system in the past, especially when it comes to referendums.
In June 1975 the voters were asked:
Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?That borders on criminal neglect. What catastrophic ignorance! Or was it Soviet-style deception and disinformation? Whitehall civil servants are supposed to be intelligent and well-educated.
The Common Market was just ONE of THREE Communities that the UK was a member of. The UK joined all THREE in 1973! The Coal and Steel Community, Euratom and the Economic Community. The latter is called in UK the ‘Common Market’ as if it were the place to buy vegetables with soil still attached.
If Whitehall had told the truth (then and now) they would have to explain how the Community system was supposed to work and why there were THREE. And vitally politicians and civil servants would have to discuss European Democracy and the Gaullist corruption of it. That would expose to all Europeans (not just the British) the wholesale scam of the Council of Ministers closed door deals. At this time the Labour government boycotted the European Parliament as a totally undemocratic institution that de Gaulle had sidelined with his poodle-powers.
In 2002 politicians decided — without any referendum even whispered or suggested — not to renew the founding Treaty of Paris that defines the principles of European democracy. This is one reason that the European iron and steel industry has suffered spectacular decline. Where is European Energy policy? Where is Europe’s defence against foreign threats to its existence?
Today in 2014 a similar SHOCKING level of ignorance is apparent in the proposed question for the upcoming UK referendum — even after it had been corrected by the Watchdog Electoral Commission:
“Should the UK remain a member of the European Union?“To thoroughly leave the system, the UK must also leave the remaining Community, Euratom. It is quite separate from the European Union. The UK could possibly leave the EU. Then the UK will find itself an uncomfortable reality. The UK will still find that it has membership of Council of Ministers. It will be obliged to be represented in other bodies such as the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Court of Auditors and the Court of Justice. (Euratom and the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) never had the European Council as an official institution.)
Only recently the UK reaffirmed its membership in Euratom. The last modifications to the ECSC and Euratom treaties were made in the Treaty of Nice of 2001 for purposes of enlargement. Some protocols of the Lisbon Treaty (rejected by referendums when it was called the Constitutional Treaty!) were added to the Euratom treaty and thus the UK confirmed Euratom as an active treaty. Article 208 says it is ‘concluded for an unlimited period.’
British politicians, bureaucrats and the British public need to get the facts — not to mention all those in Brussels who are living myths!
How can UK exit both the EU and Euratom too? Keep reading these commentaries regularly and find out! Check out the facts on Schuman Project website !