The United Kingdom should leave the European Union
Debate Rounds (4)
By me saying 'leave the EU' I mean that the UK is no longer a member state of the EU
1. No semantics
2. Sources must be provided for all statistics given
3. A forfeit/concession is not allowed
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Present all arguments, no rebuttals
Round 3: Rebuttals, no new arguments
Round 4: Defence of your arguments & conclusion, no new arguments
Any changes wished to me made need to be discussed in the comments. If the rules or debate structure is broken all available points should be given to the opposing side of the debate.
Britain is currently at a cross-roads, whether to continue to restrain itself with the ties of the European Union or to free itself and allow Britain to return to being a major player in the world.
Now the main question is how does the European Union restrain the UK?
First of all the astronomical membership fees, which currently make up 10% of our GPD at a cost of "129 bn (2009) , have a heavy burden on the British Government and tax player. But of course we do receive money back from the EU but despite this Britain is still of a net loss of "8.107 bn (2013-2014) . However this money we are given back can only be spent on what the EU dictates, demonstrating a loss of power in Westminster. This leads to a simple question: Can, when public services are being cut left right and centre, the government afford these costs?
We then come to the question of trade, what advantages has the UK gained from the EU? Well according to the reputable think-tank Civitas which reports "EU membership has not given the UK any insider advantages" . So we are paying billions upon billions of pounds for a system which does not give us advantages within it.
Moreover it is fact that Britain imports more than in exports within the EU and moreover the trade gap has risen by 68% from 2008 . The implications of this are then the EU and it's member states are very reliant on British trade, for example Germany makes up 28% of British imports . It is then ludicrous to suggest at all that trade or British jobs will be damaged by UK withdrawal. In fact the UK is likely to benefit from leaving the EU as it would be able to secure free trade agreements with emerging economies like Brazil and established economies like China, which currently the EU hinders. This idea is reinforced by the fact that the UK exports to non-EU countries has risen by 30% . Therefore it is clear that Britain can survive and in fact become stronger, economically, independent form the EU and that the UK has been economically restrained by the EU.
There is much debate on how much of UK law was from the EU as quotes vary from Nick Clegg's 7% to Nigel Farage's 70% however from research it would seem that 'between 15% to 50%' of laws/regulations are made by the EU . This is showing that since the Britain joined a free trade agreement the EU has continually become more interfering and has transformed into something that the British public did not vote for. Furthermore this regulation which is imposed onto British businesses and British citizens is not from democratic means the president and so-called 'cabinet' is appointed and these are the people which decided what the MEP's will discuss. The EU has a heart tainted with autocracy covered in a democratic shell. Demonstrating that the EU restrains the United Kingdom legally.
Now I will be very careful here as I do not want this debate to become centralise about the pros and cons of immigration as I think me and my opponent can both agree that there are both advantages and disadvantages to immigration. However there are many problems with immigration within the EU as it is unchecked and there is no way for Britain to control its borders, linking back to how the Westminster has ceded more power. However I find a central issue is that the EU policy of free travel forces Britain to discriminate against those people from across the globe. This then leads to a question I would much like my opponent to answer: What entitles someone from Poland, France or Germany more rights to live in Britain than someone from America, India or China? Also as the EU has allowed memberships to countries only just recovering from the strains of communism and due to Britain's generous welfare and NHS it becomes a very attractive offer to citizens of these countries. Increasing the pressure on already strained public services. This then could explain the rise of net migration to the UK to 212,000 (2013)  and shows that the EU policy of immigration restrains the United kingdom's public services.
As an extra point I look like to mention that UKIP's success in the European elections shows, with 72% of Britons are not attached to the EU , that there is a increasing Eurosceptic trend within the UK. Surely if this feelings continue to grow the UK should leave solely on democratic means.
Trade and single market benefits
Britain`s membership in the EU has significantly increased Britain"s trade with the other EU-members. A report released by the Centre for European Reform (CER) estimated how much the trade with the other EU-countries had risen as a result of EU and contrasted it with the amount of trade that would have been done had not EU been established. They looked at the said countries GDP and exchange rates and combined these data with factors such as population, distance from Britain, whether or not they speak English or not, etc. When factoring in these variables and other controls, they found that the UK"s trade with other EU-members were 55 percent higher than would be expected had not UK been an EU-member.
Since UK is a member of the common market, tariffs and quotas on products are removed between EU-members, thus encouraging free trade and exchange. Products that originate and are sold within EU circulate duty-free. In this way, trade occurs cheaper and more readily than it did before the single market was introduced.
Since EU adopts a common external tariff (CET) on imports from non-member countries, it confers conformity between the member-countries by removing differences in trade restrictions imposed upon non-member countries. Thus it makes the whole of EU a reliable place for investment since you won"t have to worry about price differences and take that into consideration when thinking of investing in any EU country. For instance, that means that tariffs imposed on, say, imports of Samsung smartphones from South Korea would be the same in the UK as in Germany or Bulgaria. Therefore, the CET prevents individual countries from imposing their own unilateral tariffs on non-member countries, thus conferring stability within the EU as well as making sure to hold off protectionist pressures.
Since customs and trade barriers were removed, trade in good has become less costly and less unpredictable. Prior to the European Union national rules that prevented " or at least made it harder " for companies to trade across borders and to settle in other countries were harmonized among the EU members so as to be recognized by other member states. This has especially facilitated the growth for medium and small-sized companies who before the establishment of the single market were practically unable to fulfil public procurement rules to bid contracts in other EU-members " thus favoured bigger companies who had the means to invest in such a costly enterprise to the expense of smaller companies " now have a much more favourable position to do business within EU. Companies are now able to sell goods, services and labour without having to comply with 28 different set of rulebooks. EU creates a minimum regulatory standards that one is required to follow, making you able to sell products unhindered. This way, exporters no longer have to create 28 different products in order to comply with 28 different set of national rules, thus making it a whole lot easier to trade and do business.
The common market thus encourages more intra-EU trade and a more efficient allocation of resources, thereby leading to gains in consumer and producer welfare. Since removing trade barriers shifts consumers spending from domestic goods towards cheaper foreign goods, this will lead to a more effective economic output overall benefiting costumers as well as producers.
Initially the single market was open for 345 million people but now it is accessed by over 500 million people. This is a signal achievement of the EU by allowing one to be able to work, to study and to retire wherever you want within EU. For instance, now, because of a common recognition of qualifications that applies between EU-countries, you don"t have to go through a bureaucratic nightmare you had to prior to when the single market were put in place. Prior to that it could take literally months to fill in the paperwork necessary to register for studying abroad. Now that cumbersome task that once was something that held many people is gone.
Not saying that war would break out if UK were to leave, one can"t deny the fact that EU has brought stability and peace to the continent. Historically Europe has been the most belligerent continent on the planet. However, with deeper integration, war between nations has been effectively thwarted by increased cooperation and trade in the EU. UK was an enthusiastic prompter - " having known the deep costs and tragedies that war and disunity entails " of deeper integration in 1957 when the Treaty of Rome was first signed and was a partaker in the foundations laid in the treaty. The treaties of Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) through which deeper integration, including a common market, was achieved among the six founding members along with a common set of institutions. UK played an important role in the founding of this and the later treaties that were to come. Since UK played a great part then, it would be a shame if UK left EU, having been one of the prime and most influential establishers of the EU and, thus, undeniably brought peace and stability throughout Europe.
As opposed to what many would have us believe, I would make the case that UK wields and has wielded quite a large influence in EU ever since 1973 when it first became a member of the European Economic Community (EEC). In fact, Britain has been an influential contributor to many of the significant achievements by the European Union such as the single market, the enlargement to the south and to the east " which both were British led initiatives ", the foundation of the Common foreign and Security Police, etc.
When considering the fact that UK has the fifth largest military, the sixth largest economy in the world, has a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and is an independent nuclear deterrent, all of the said combined brings a huge leverage when striking deals and negotiating with the other EU countries as well as other non-member countries through, for instance, UK commissionaires. Because EU gives UK the opportunity to have its say on and partake in the legislative changes on international forums such as climate change, foreign policy, global trade rules (the drafting of the free trade agreement with South Korea is currently celebrated as a British success), to name a few, greatly bolsters the image of Britain both inside and outside of the EU.
Indeed, UK joined the EEC because it came to the realisation that it was losing worldwide, geopolitical strength and influence due to the decolonization after the WWII and the fact that several countries left the Commonwealth of Nations such as Burma, Ireland, and South Yemen. Thus, once former assets to the British Empire were ceding from the Commonwealth by which Great Britain had once been able to assert itself as an influential global power. The Macmillan government in the 60s, however, saw great benefits in a rapprochement to the EEC through which it could regain its role as a global power and to catch up with the higher economic pace experienced by the EEC countries relative to the UK. Macmillan was therefore deeply involved in the work that led to the entry of Britain since he saw the huge political, diplomatic and, not the least, economic gains that could be made in pursuing deepening ties with EEC.
An example of one of the successes for Britain"s part was the "patent package" reform that Britain was seeking to complete 2012/2013. The purpose of the package was the creation of a unitary patent protection in the EU, meaning that a single and common patent jurisdiction is valid and applicable in the EU. This has made it possible for investors (individuals, companies or institutions) to protect their inventions by just filling in a single patent application that is valid in any of the 28 member states. Prior to this legislation, an inventor had to validate the invention one by one in each member country; a burdensome task that would have involved huge costs for different kind of fees pertaining to patent offices, costs for patent agents, translation, etc. With the help of UK " deemed to have played a significant role in the drafting of the legislation " this legislation has dramatically reduced the costs for investors and thus the legislation has managed to spur research and investments in innovation, thus making EU more competitive to the rest of the world.
To summarize, EU has been beneficial to UK in the past and it continues to benefit UK even today. Even though EU is far from perfect and can be improved upon , it still is an important political platform for the UK as well as an important arena for trade. UK has played an important role in the forming of the EU and should remain so.
Firstly when concerning my opponents economic argument he fails to evaluates the economic benefit for Britain but rather centralises his argument around the EU as a whole and this is a fundamental flaw as Britain is in a unique position in which it is held back by the EU as explained in my initial argument. Undoubtedly some countries benefit however Britain does not anymore.
Furthermore my opponents economic argument is also centred around the idea and benefits of free trade, trade without tariffs. But we simply must acknowledge that we do not need a political union which requires: membership cost that accumulate to 10% of the UK's GPD , no border control and loss of power from parliament to have these trade agreements. Especially as the EU severely limits the UK's ability to create free trade agreements with non-EU members. It is a simple fact that the EU is more reliant on the UK than the UK is on the EU and therefore the trade with the EU will be largely unaffected by Britain's independence. That is a fact. Therefore Britain is in a economically unique position to leave and continue to have the free trade with Europe and not the ties of the EU as the statistics in my original argument prove. We live in a global world so why limited ourselves to one continent?
Secondly my opponent mentions that it has become easier for international students as there is no longer a 'bureaucratic nightmare'. But I would just like to point out that top 3 countries in which international students arrive from to the UK are China, India and Nigeria . Also the top country which UK students go to is the US . So the 'bureaucratic nightmare' cannot be too much of strain on the students as they continue to come from non-EU countries and go to non-EU countries in such large volumes and therefore shouldn't be used as a reason for the UK to continue to shackle itself to the EU. Moreover the cost of the open border control of this has a heavy toll on the UK and is explained in my initial argument. This also highlights the EU's further discrimination against non-EU countries. As why does an EU student have a greater right to study in the UK than a Asian student or an American student? This is the objection I have for the EU immigration policy as well.
We then go on to the misconception that the EU is the source of the wonderful peace that Europe enjoys. However it is simply not; N.A.T.O which was founded in 1949  a separate organisation to the EU to the major organisation which has helped resolve issues. The peace we have been enjoying is not a product of the EU, it is a product of N.A.T.O , the sheer devastation of WW2 and changing social attitudes within Europe. To state that the Europe situation of peace is down to the EU is absurd.
Also the opponent thankful mentions British influence well the facts are that with 73 MEPs and a parliament at a size of 751 Britain has about 9.7% of the vote  but Britain makes up around 13% of the population of the EU  and Britain is the 4th largest contributor  this does not seem fair representation. My opponent also mentions that the EU gives Britain a platform to influence international politics however without the EU it still does as a member the G8, G20 and permanent set within the UN, we do not need the EU to influence the world and tackle issues like climate change.
Moreover my opponent mentions that the EU has made it easier for European countries to invest in the UK economy however before the EU investing was so difficult why is the top investor in the UK the USA? . It may have encouraged further investment from EU countries but there is no reason why the UK could not have similar legislation independently for the world not just Europe.
To summarise my opponents economic argument focus on the EU as a whole and fails to realise Britain strong position, how free trade agreements do not require a political union and that the same levels of trade would continue without EU membership. The fact that EU through its immigration and trading policy discriminates against non-EU members. Peace in Europe was not achieved through the EU but rather WW2 and N.A.T.O. The largest foreign investment comes from the USA and the UK could continue to have the same investment from EU countries whilst being independent. Britain is under represented in the parliament and can be a major world player without the EU.
You have posited that UK could remain outside and still negotiate bilateral agreements that includes the single market (that ubdoubtedly has been a success story for Britain) and still somehow enjoy all the benefits. The problem is that if you look at Norway they still have to adopt the decisions made by EU while not having any say in those. Switzerland are, as Norway, members of EEA. However, unlike Norway, they do not have a deal with EU on free services, nor do they have an accord on financial services with EU (except an agreement on life insurance from 1989). My point is that either of these alternatives would be worse for Britain - especially the latter because of the financial services that constutes a big percentage of UK"s total economy.
If we were to look at a chart of Uk"s total amount of trade (see chart 2 on the source below that I have provided for all this information and for the text above), you will see that the percentage of trade conducted with EU-members have been fairly stable and has almost levelled off on 54 percent of since the middle of 1990. The trade with the EU-11 countries (and OECD) also fell as a percentage of trade. However, you will see that the trade with the emerging economy has grown fairly stable over that period of time and now amounts to almost 15% of our total trade. One might erroneously deduce that this growth in trade with the emerging economies might have diverted trade being conducted with the other EU-members. However, as the study demonstrated, this is not the case. In fact, the trade with EU actually increased as a whole. UK membership in the Union did in fact boost its goods trade overall by around 30 per cent! The fact of the matter is that the total amount of trade for UK has grown over the last decade, hence one might get the wrong impression of the global trade taking place between UK and the rest of the world.
The report also showed that EU has not diverted trade from any of its 30 biggest non-eu trading partners. In the third chart they demonstate the probability of EU diverting any trade from any of the other 30 non-eu trading partner is small and concludes that "there is no evidence that EU diverts trade overall".
My opponent argues that if we could leave the European Union, we would be in a better position to negotiate and reach trade agreements with emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil.
This may seem like an economically prudent descision. However, to analyze this basic notion further, we need first to look at the certain aspects that drives the growth in global trade. What we can infer from looking at the trends of the global trade is an increasing division of labour between emerging economies and developed economies. This is driven by comparative advantage, meaning that the different countries speicialices on producing the particular goods that they are best at producing, thus leading to a combined higher output due to lower marginal costs and opportunity costs for goods which leads to a more productive economy. Because comparative advantage is the driving factor in the global trade between emerging and developed economies, the former have specialised in intensive manufacturing and the latter in high-calue added production.
The argument that you are making, however, misses out on one important aspect, namely the economic trend that shows that not only has trade between countries with similar economic characteristics grown rapidly for decades but also that the value of trade between developed economies is far greater than that between emerging and develop economies, and will continue to be so for years to come. If you look at it from a microeconomic perspective, what drives consumers in developed countries is choice, namely a diverse supply of goods with different designs and differing levels of quality. Only developed economies have the sufficent infrastructure, knowledg and capital to be able to provide this diversity in goods and serivces found in developed economies. Since it takes time for emerging economies to breach through the transition treshold from being an intensive manufacturing economy to a more high calue-added production, UK won"t enjoy the benefits of that as much as it currently does when freetrading with EU-members. The process took Japan almost 30 years after WWII and a similair period for South Korea. Also worth noting is that they both enjoyed a more benign economic environment than that which the emerging economies are currently going thrugh.
You are trying to disprove the role that EU has played in making peace in Europe by comparing it to NATO, is to compare apples with oranges since they both work towards peace in different ways. Indeed, during the Cold War, NATO did protect western Europe from slipping into the grasp of the soviets and managed to uphold the fragile power balance between the west and east during the cold war. However, it is the achievements of EU as well as NATO combined that has made EU the prosperous and peaceful continent as it is today.
The fact of the matter is that EU and its predecessors have contributed to peace and stability in various numbers of ways; through the steel and coal community established in 1954 they managed to transform ceturies old hostility between France Germany adn Italy by the mutually beneficial creation of a common market in coal would create more integration and deepened friendship; In the aftermath of the autocratic reigns that had plagued Portugal, Greece and Spain, EU managed to transform them to stabilized democracies; aided and abetted the transition to democracy of big parts of central and eastern Europe following the demise of the Soviet Uniona and the warsaw Pact countries rapproachment to the EU; etc.
Today, EU is a global power weaving relationships and interactions, communicates and cooperates across borders. With the EU, communcation between governments takes place every day and on every level. Companies can operate within the whole european single market. People travel and relocate with, in history, unprecedented ease. EU does contribute a whole lot to a more stable environment by deepened integration and more cooperation.
Even if it`s true that more students are from non-european countries, it still doesn"t negate the fact that it is a bureaucratic nightmare to apply for an schengen visa if you are not an european citizen. This cumbersome process is removed within the bounds of those countries that are part of the Schengen agreement. However, as I just found out, Britain is not a part of Schengen. Thus, it seems that this argument and your attempts to refute have been in vain. However, it is a shame that Britain is not a fullworthy member of Schengen since that would leave out all the paper filling work for students and tourists alike as well as the long waiting period - which takes up to 90 days! - until those papers are clear and sanctioned.
Sure, UK is part of g8 and g20, so it has some sphere of influence on matters of economy and other global issues, sure. However, since EU is also part of g8 and g20, Britain can exert more influence in these top meetings by being a member of EU and thereby manage to influence the agenda that EU sets. UK can therefore be a bigger global power if it remains to be a member of EU since it not only wields more influence on the two big top meetings, but also in EU as well. Here I"ll delve more into the actual power that UK actually wields.
Even though UK has little less than 10% of the seats in the parliament, that is far from the only way of measuring the total amount of influence in EU. Since all countries have objectives that they want to achieve in the decision making process, a way of measuring UK"s influence in EU is to actually see how many objectives UK fulfills. The think-tank that performed the study outlined a scoreboard intended to gauge UK"s total amount of influences on a vide range of EU-policies. What it found was that UK had been successful in 20 areas and failed in only four. In a further 20 areas Britain had been partially succesful in that its gains could not be guaranteed. I mentioned the "patent package" in my last address as an example of where it was deemed that UK had exerted its influence successfully and has thus managed to draft a bill that undoubtedly has created a lot of growth and jobs in the EU as well as in the UK.
Firstly my opponent states that 'I did specify pretty clearly the economic benefits that EU confers UK' in response to me saying that 'he fails to evaluate the economic benefit for Britain'. I suspect that my opponent may have missed my point here as the keyword here is 'evaluate' in his rebuttal he fails to refute many of the economic issues that I raised in my initial argument most important of which is the ever increasing trade gap. Which demonstrates the vital role Britain plays and how this allows us to withdraw from the EU without losing the free trade. My apologies for not being clear enough.
Furthermore I would also like to point out that my opponents economic argument is solely supported my one report from the Centre of European Reform (CER). However the CER itself admits that it is 'pro-European'; they think 'the EU should take on more responsibilities' and that they aim 'to promote an open, outward-looking and effective European Union'. I will happily admit that the CER is a very reputable think-tank but this document, which is the cornerstone of your economic argument, is perhaps open to bias towards the EU. As from reading there description of themselves, which I have quoted here, they would not have published something which was critical of the relationship between the EU and Britain.
My opponent goes on then to compare the notion I raised, that Britain will be able to keep its free trade agreements, with Norway's situation. However it's a simple fact that the UK is not Norway the UK is the 6th largest economy in the world and has a trade gap of 68% and therefore is in a unique position and could easily negotiate free trade agreements with EU members but not being subject to open borders, ridiculous membership fees and removal of power from Westminster. (All points which my opponent has failed to refute so far).
You then go on to explain how trade with emerging economies has it disadvantages as they are not as good trading partners as the developed EU countries. I should state that I am not against trade with the EU, I am not suggesting that we stop. My main economic argument, based on very reliable sources, is that the UK does not need to be a part of the EU to have free trade with the EU; proved by statistics in my initial argument. Therefore when the UK is no longer a member it can continue free trade with the EU but also with other economies like China, which I would not call an emerging economy. The point which I was trying to make is that the EU limits the UK's ability to create free trade agreements with non-EU members, not that this trade would replace the trade with the EU but enhance it.
You then go on to claim that I am 'trying disprove the role that EU has played in making peace in Europe by comparing it to NATO' however that was not my point. My point was that 'the peace we have been enjoying is not a product of the EU, it is a product of N.A.T.O , the sheer devastation of WW2 and changing social attitudes within Europe' not just N.A.T.O but all three factors combined. Also you then go on to mention that through trade the EU has eased relations between countries, that may very well be true, but that does not affect whether the UK should or should not leave the EU as you say yourself 'I'm not saying that war would break out if UK were to leave' and it wouldn't damage relations either. This is 2014 not 1954, times have changed and the Britain being in the EU is not required for stability in Europe. Also you claim the EU has eased relations through trade but I have already stated and proved that the UK would not change its trading relationship if it was to leave so this would not damage relations through leaving.
You then inform me that as Britain is not part of the Schengen agreement and that may make my attempt to refute your original argument pointless but it also makes your original point useless and not relevant to this debate.
Your next point amuses me greatly! Suggesting that the British people will have extra influence throughout the world by being a member of the EU as they can influence the EU agenda. Well this is very easy to refute, clearly the British people have not influenced the agenda of the EU as there is such a large, growing, Eurosceptic movement in the UK as UKIP's success in the European elections demonstrates. If Britain had influence EU policy so mush then why is there this movement? Furthermore if Britain has such influence within the EU then explain the appointment of Junker which our PM, David Cameron opposed so greatly.
Also I would like to point out that my opponent is yet to answer my question: 'What entitles someone from Poland, France or Germany more rights to live in Britain than someone from America, India or China?'. Moreover my opponent hasn't refuted my point that the unchecked immigration increases the strain on already strained public services within Britain. Furthermore the idea that the EU is systematically removing power from Westminster. It seems to me that my opponent is not considering the disadvantages within Britain and how the EU effects day to day life in Britain but rather distracts me by talking about student visas, which is hardly a major point in this discussion especially as it's not even a factor in the end!
I would like to thank my opponent once again for this debate which I had enjoyed greatly and am only sorry that it has ended so quickly as I feel this debate would have been even better with a few more rounds.
Swedishperspective forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeit. As to arguments, Pro gave some reasons to leave the EU, and rebutted Con's reasons to stay. Had Con had his final round to defend his assertions, he might have pulled a win out, but given that his case was rebutted without answer, I feel the win goes to Pro. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
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