The United Kingdom should leave the European Union
Round 1 will be acceptance and initial argument.
I accept this debate and look forward to defending the integrity of the EU.
Round 1 will be based on economics.
The UK spends £12 billion per year to be an EU member. However when we consider the financial benefits of membership this fee is a pittance by comparison. The EU is the UK’s largest trading partner comprising 52% of UK trade and gains roughly £400 billion per year from this trade. 
Furthermore alone the UK is only the 6th largest economy in the world behind EU members France and Germany. The EU as a whole is a far more serious trading partner than any individual member. Leaving the EU would decrease the UK’s economic influence. To quote from a Chinese newspaper: “The Cameron administration should acknowledge that the UK is not a big power in the eyes of the Chinese. It is just an old European country apt for travel and study.” 
Pro would like the UK to exit and model after Norway. However even the Prime Minister of Norway thinks the UK should remain in the EU . Norway and other non-members must agree to EU trade laws in order to participate. If sovereignty is an issue Pro’s stance essentially takes away the UK’s say and representation in creating such trade laws while at the same time still making the UK beholden to them. If the UK thinks it will get special treatment and will be able to pick and choose which European laws to abide by then clearly the UK does not understand the balance of power between it and the 27 other nations that comprise the EU.
The UK is highly integrated into the EU economy. Exit would disrupt that integration and the economic prosperity the EU has given the UK. In a lengthy report by the Centre for European Reform (CER)  to address the economic impact of Britons exit they created an economic model to measure the effect the EU had on the UK’s trade. They calculated in 2013 the ‘EU effect’ from increased trade with other member states amounted to £130 billion, for comparison direct trade with China only resulted in £43 billion for the UK. EU membership has also increased the amount of foreign investment into the UK. “In 1997, other EU member-states accounted for 30 per cent of the accumulated stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Britain; this proportion had risen to 50 per cent in 2012.”(pg 11)
Economic regulation is an issue that spurs the desire to leave the EU. However the CER report also addresses this. Regulation is justified, without it there would be no single market and “According to OECD data, Britain has the second least regulated product markets in the developed world, after the Netherlands. Both are EU members.” (pg 11) Leaving the EU would have minimal if any effect at all in regards to deregulating the UK market.
In a concurring opinion the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the UK’s largest lobbying group for business interest, says that continued membership in the EU “remains fundamental to our [the UK’s] economic future”. 
In conclusion, leaving the EU would incite economic shortfalls on the UK. It would curb investment, curb trade, and most ironically it would strip the UK’s ability to negotiate trade law thus impacting sovereignty. It is far more profitable to stay in the EU than go it alone. If Pro wants to look to Norway he should take their advice and stay in the EU.
 http://www.mirror.co.uk... (skip the survey to access article)
Firstly, I would just like to point out that British trade to the EU makes up 36% of our exports, not 52%. In fact, it is Britain alone that receives 52% of EU exports, making us their single biggest market in the world.  This also means that Britain is worth "400 billion to the EU, not the other way round.
That said, we do in fact get money back in various forms but the UK is known widely to be a net contributor to the EU meaning that we put more money in than we get back .
Secondly, according to the IMF, the UK has the fastest growing economy in the western world  and the Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted that by 2030, the UK will overtake both France and Germany to be the largest economy in Europe.  Also, even though we are rated 1st in the world for soft power, it is unlikely the Chinese would not form some sort of trade agreement with us as they have already done so with both Iceland and Switzerland who both lie outside the EU and who both have vastly smaller economies than the UK .
Thirdly, you are correct that Norway must agree to EU trade laws without having a say but they have actually only adopted 9% of those laws. Daniel Hannan, a Conservative Member of European Parliament (MEP) tells us in an article he wrote for CapX, that between 2000 and 2013 Norway adopted 4,724 EU regulations (almost all minor that required no additional legislation) whereas the UK, in the same period, adopted 52,183 new regulations . This suggests to me that the UK can indeed pick and choose what regulations it would adopt should it take a similar path and that leaving the EU would go some way to deregulating our economy.
While we would lose our say in what the trade laws are it would still be no different than exporting to any other country such as the USA where we also have no say in trade laws. Furthermore, we would also regain the right to create our own agriculture and fisheries policies once more which means a significant return of sovereignty to the UK as well as an end to policies that have made food more expensive at a time when people's wages and household incomes are suffering.
Fourthly, in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) a report by the think tank Civitas showed that while initially, in the first decade of membership, the EU did contribute to FDI in to the UK, "there is no evidence that any benefit continued
beyond the first post-entry decade" (pg 64) and it also says that between 1993 and 2012, FDI grew at a slower rate than it did in the EFTA countries (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland) . In short, it is not unreasonable, in light of this report, to expect a larger and quicker amount of FDI in to the UK should we choose to leave, not to mention we would not longer be penalised by trade tariffs should we trade outside of the EU.
As a side note, CBI, among others also gave the exact same arguments when the UK was deciding whether or not to join the Euro. All I can say here is that they were clearly wrong about that and thank god we did not listen to them.
Finally, some of the problems the EU faces are highlighted again by Daniel Hannan MEP. He explains that compared to the rest of the world, economic growth in the EU is minimal, EU debt is at 880 billion Euros, our trade with the EU is declining and unemployment is high [8+9]. By the majority of measures we, a small island nation, are doing better than an entire continent and therefore leaving the EU would not hurt us nearly as much as you suggest.
To conclude, leaving the EU in favour of EFTA would have the immediate benefit of vastly less regulation that damages small and medium size businesses in the UK. We could also see more investment, at a faster pace in to the country which would help create much needed jobs at a time of high unemployment. While it is true we would lose the (minimal) say we have in the European Parliament on trade laws, we would also gain the ability to make our own laws in other areas that have a much bigger impact on the UK and therefore we should leave and make our own way.
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[8+9] http://www.dailymail.co.uk... + http://www.capx.co...
This round will consist of 2 parts, first a rebuttal in order to save on economic grounds then onto my second argument, which I have dubbed ‘The Briton First Fallacy’. I will be citing Pro’s sources as well shown as [Pro #] to distinguish from my sources.
First let me address UK exports. The 52% cited was most definitely UK exports to the EU, not the other way around. Source [Pro 1] is only talks about UK exports, not imports. In my research roughly 50% was a common figure [3:(pg 23)] in exports to the EU. However it would seem this statistic is dated by a couple years. The recent economic slump in the EU has caused total exports to drop from roughly 50% to 44% as reported by the ONS. Now the contention [Pro 1] brings up is the claim the real figure is 36%, not 44%. However I contest this number. First, this statistic was found by the Britain-Out faction, such bias makes me question its merit. Mainly because if the original report decided include transit exports as part of the total exports there must be good reason. Perhaps the reason why the UK can even afford to use Belgium and the Netherlands as transit hubs is because of the decreased trade barriers caused by membership in the EU! And besides, even if 36% is the real number, that is still a substantial part of the UK export market. Were the UK to leave, there would still be great economic loss. It will be far more profitable for the UK to stay in the EU and trade with its rich neighbors than to exit and seek investment elsewhere.
Pro says that the UK is set to the largest economy in Europe. However what [Pro 4] doesn’t mention is the EU membership status. We can only assume that the predictions made by CEBR in regards to the UK’s future economic rise correspond with its continued membership in the EU.
In regards to Norway and regulation; Pro seems to think that the UK will be able to negotiate better trade policy with the EU while outside it. However, unlike Norway, the UK has a massive trade deficit with the EU. To quote CER “the UK would be wrong to assume that it could dictate terms in any negotiation with the EU by virtue of the fact that it is running a trade deficit. First, the EU buys half of Britain’s exports whereas the UK accounts for little over 10% of exports from the rest of the EU … Second, half of the EU’s trade surplus with the UK is accounted for by just two member-states: Germany and the Netherlands”  (pg 28). On to regulation, Pro brings up the how Norway only adopted roughly 4,700 regulations while the UK had to adopt over 50,000. This can be explained for 2 reasons, first, Norway is not a full member and thus does not need to adopt so many, and Norway already has a more regulated economy, so it would not need to adopt new laws. Compared to Britain, the 2nd least regulated Western economy and full member of the EU. Again, these regulations are justified in order to create a single market.
Pro mentions wanting the UK to have more sovereignty over agriculture, however the EU subsidizes farming in the UK, and many farmers need said funding just to break even .
The Britain First Fallacy
This section will have to be shorter than expected. But I will highlight why Britain’s rational for leaving is short sighted, selfish and ungrateful. It is short sighted simply based on the economics of it; don’t forget the £130 billion EU effect. I believe the UK is threatening to leave simply because it wants to be treated as special. It wants to be first among equals. We can see this in the way the UK operates as a member. It is the only country that gets a rebate, and by percent of income the UK pays the least into the EU [Pro 2]. How unfair to the rest of the EU that the 6th largest economy in the world contributes a lesser percent of its income than any other. Another area where the UK seeks special favor is immigration; while every member has agreed to open borders and free movement (a corner stone in the EU plan) the UK thinks it doesn’t think have to abide. When the EU is in an economic crunch who do we turn to? Britain? No, they are too busy trying to cut and run. It is Germany that is fighting to preserve the EU. If Britain considers itself an honorable nation it will not abandon its allies in the name of (non-existent) profits.
In summary: I reiterate the economic importance the EU represents for the UK. If the UK seeks to be the largest economy in Europe it can only do so with the EU. The UK can’t copy Norway’s policy, and the UK relies on the EU for farm subsidies. Finally, Britain seeks to leave because it wants more special favors. We do not see Germany, the country that is holding up the EU now, complaining and threatening to leave like a child because of temporary setbacks. The UK should stand by its friends and work to revive the Euro, not threaten an already wounded system with more turmoil.
I would also like to make the point that the reason the UK "can even afford to use Belgium and the Netherlands as transit hubs" is not because of EU membership but of EEA membership. The EEA part of our membership deals with the free movement of people, goods, capital etc and is not conditional upon full EU membership as the Norway model quite clearly shows. Therefore, upon leaving full EU membership behind and resuming EFTA membership while simultaneously keeping EEA membership it is clear the UK would still keep these decreased trade barriers that you mentioned. That said, even if trade tariffs were reintroduced, the aforementioned Bruges Group report also explains how these would not be a problem to the UK anyway.
We would not need to negotiate our trade policy with the EU again as EFTA already has a policy on mutual free trade with the EU.
You also say these regulations are justified but I have to disagree. The Huffington Post reported on an Open Europe report that said EU regulation costs the UK 27.4 billion a year . As I have already shown, EFTA membership means a lot less regulation from EU institutions which would therefore mean more money for the UK. Add to that that businesses favour deregulated markets and we see the UK becoming an increasingly favourable option for FDI which links back with what I was saying in round one about how we could expect more FDI if we leave our EU membership behind.
I agree that farmers need subsidies to survive here, the small and medium sized ones anyway but with the Common Agricultural Policy it is the case that the biggest farms were allocated 75% of the CAP aid while the smallest 25% of farms (the ones who really need it) got a mere 3% of the aid  pg 24-25]. It is worth mentioning here that you don't even have to have a farm to qualify for the aid as the Queen's and the Duke of Westminster have both received massive payouts from the EU when they clearly do not need it. The UK could afford to subsidise its own farms, just like other major, non-EU economies do.
The first issue I take with your Britain First Fallacy is that while you are quick to point out the 130 billion EU effect, you forget that be that as it may, the UK is still a net-contributor to the EU and as such we pay more in than we get back. I also disagree with the idea we are threatening to leave because we want to be treated as special. The friction between the EU and UK is caused by differences of opinion in how the EU should work and resistance to where the EU is going politically. Personally I see it as a good example of UK-EU political incompatibility.
Furthermore, when the rebate system was introduced in 1984, it was because the UK was the 3rd poorest member of EEC yet was on course to become the biggest net contributor to the EU. You ask how is it fair for the 5/6th largest economy in the world to contribute a lesser percentage than another but I ask how it would have been fair, back then, to make the 3rd poorest nation in the EEC the greatest contributor?
We also do not seek to stop EU immigration in to the UK or anywhere else but control it. The majority of people in the UK support a system of controlled immigration and so this is yet another example of UK-EU political incompatibility.
I feel I should also explain why Germany isn't the one holding the EU together. Simply put, they are holding the Euro together and they do this instead of the UK because they are the largest economy in the Eurozone of which the UK is not a part. When the EU is in economic crunch, it is the job of the ECB to make things right and the best way they do this is by using German wealth (which the German people are getting tired of I might add).
In conclusion I think it is better for the UK to be a good neighbour to the EU instead of a constant thorn in its side. I believe the UK can still be the largest economy in Europe whilst not having full EU membership and I believe we can successfully use the Norwegian model (note I did not say "copy Norway"). I disagree with the idea that we want to leave because we aren't getting special favours. It is due to political incompatibility.
In regards to UK exports to the EU we can agree the percentage is somewhere between 40-50%. Again, I reiterate that this number is nothing to sneeze at, and disrupting this trade will encourage economic loss. Furthermore quoting the credit firm Standard & Poors (S&P), the only major credit firm still giving the EU a AAA investment rating, “the biggest threat to Britain’s rating was not the state of the public finances but the risk of leaving the European Union. … Being a member of the EU bestows the UK with multiple benefits. … If it splits with the EU, it’s not clear what benefits will remain. You cannot be sure what the relationship would look like.” . Let this be clear, my opponent asserts if the UK where to leave it would receive more investment. However, that cannot be said with confidence. The UK would risk taking a hit to its credit rating and thus curbing its prospects for investment.
He says that more lax regulation will encourage investment, I quote again from the CER that the UK is the 2nd least regulated market in the Western world behind the Netherlands (an EU member). Furthermore Pro says business favor less regulation yet the CBI as noted in Round 1 favors remaining in the EU. Given that they represent business interests, it’s fair to say they are fine with regulation in exchange for EU profits. And again if the UK leaves the EU it will still have to abide by EU regulation if it wishes to deal in the single market! However, now out of the EU the UK will still have to pay membership dues to be a part of the EEA, just as Norway does. Regulation still remains, membership dues remain, and the only thing lost (besides money) is the UK’s voice within the EU.
Britain First Fallacy
My opponent again points out that the UK is a net contributor to the EU, while this may be true I think pointing this out is evidence of the UK’s blindness towards it context in the EU. Germany is a greater net contributor, yet we do not see Germany threatening to leave. We see Germany fighting to save the Euro (and by extent the EU) while the UK sits on the sidelines. My opponent says the UK used to be the 3rd poorest nation in the EEC, but now it is the 3rd richest. We can only attribute this and future progress to EU membership. Yet the UK wishes to end this progress for short sited reasons.
In the US we have a joke about our conservative party, the Republican Party. It goes something like this: ‘Republicans say that the government is ineffective and can’t help anyone. And when they get into office they prove it!’ To apply this to the EU and UK; David Cameron complains that the UK has lost influence and is not respected in the EU yet he is the fault for UK’s loss of influence! Where once the UK was an influential member, Cameron’s anti-EU attitude has isolated the UK; to quote Jose Barroso, former EU Chief, “But while, with Tony Blair, Britain was really playing a very important role in the European Union, they were at the centre of decisions, today this is no longer the case.” Furthermore “the American president, if he wants to get European countries on board, I think the first call he makes is the chancellor of Germany, no longer to the British prime minister.”
If the UK had more influence they could better negotiate with the EU and seek reform rather than exit. However: “Where they are, most or all [reforms] could be achieved within today's EU. At the same time, it is remarkable, and ironic that these intense demands for 'reform' come from a member state that has in recent years been obstructive and critical, with opt-outs that make it a more 'special case' member state than any other, and that has presided over its own collapsing influence, undermining the UK's ability to fight successfully for its interests in the EU as it is, let alone for substantive reforms.” 
In conclusion, I believe the economics are still on my side in exports, regulation and investment; Pro can only give you a hypothetical chance at prosperity, a rosy assumption in my opinion. If the UK wants to be an important player in the EU then it should stop being a thorn in its side and engaging in self defeating posturing. The UK still has a chance to make its way back into favor and influence within the EU and onto the world stage. If the UK leaves it will abandon its influence and voice while still beholden to EU regulation and membership dues.
One thing I will agree with my opponent on is that the case to leave the EU is very much a hypothetical chance at prosperity but it is a chance nonetheless. Think about the French revolutionaries in the 19th century, the Levelers in the 17th century and even the American rebels in the 18th century. Did they sit there and accept mediocrity when they knew they could be better or did they dare to dream? Were they afraid to ask "what if...?" The answer is of course no. They saw an opportunity to improve their country for the better and they took it. No doubt they would have thought about how the rest of the world would react to what they were doing but even so they were prepared to make things work for their children and grandchildren, just as I believe the British people are.
My opponent points out how Germany is a greater contributor than we are. While this is true it is also somewhat irrelevant. Germany may well be happy with the contribution that they make to the EU but this does not mean that no-one else can be unhappy about their's. Germany also may well be happy to sit in a customs union that it can dominate but this does by no means mean that the British people have to be happy with the net contributor arrangement too, we are allowed to have an opinion that differs from that of the German government.
I'm sure that Con would also not disagree with the notion that Britain has been a thorn in the side of the EU as of late. While this is nothing knew (except under Tony Blair, perhaps Britain's least popular prime minister) I believe we should be on good terms with Europe, trade with it, even defend it. Surely the best way to do this is to re-evaluate what our relationship should be so that we can be good neighbours as the Swiss and Norwegians are instead of being a constant annoyance, slowing down the European idea of what progress is.
Con has shown you the possible negative consequences of leaving the EU (what the SNP would no doubt refer to as "project fear" were they campaigning to leave the EU) whereas I have tried to show a positive case to leave. That said, there is plenty to be concerned about with EU membership not least of which is the cost of membership (55-60 million a day). It is also the only trade bloc on the world that teeters constantly on the edge of economic recession, has a declining share of world GDP, is plagued by high unemployment, increases the cost of living, enforces protectionist trade policies through tariffs and who's ultimate destination is a "United States of Europe".
Furthermore, con puts the UK's economic success in the 1970's down to what would become EU membership. I would again like to refer to the Civitas report that suggested the benefit of this did not last much beyond the first decade of membership. Just because it may (debatable) have been the right decision to enter back then does not mean it is the right decision to stay now. Con may believe he has economics on his side but the truth of the matter is that the economics of staying and leaving are highly debatable and since no official cost-benefit analysis actually exists, it is up to the individual to look at the data and decide for themselves. In most cases you will find a convincing argument to leave.
Now for some of those positives. If we leave our contribution to the EU budget could be greatly decreased, we could see more investment and thus more jobs, lower food prices, we could see the return of our fishing and manufacturing industries and properly subsidise our farms. We would have to suffer less regulation from politicians whom we do not elect (the ones we do only make up 8% of EU parliament), we can openly trade with the rest of the world without it being penalised by EU tariffs and we can get our seat back at the WTO. We definitely stand more to gain by leaving than we do by staying. All we have to do is dare to dream.
n.b I would like to take the opportunity to thank my opponent for the debate. I believe he has presented some very good arguments and it has been a pleasure debating this issue with him.
(Please watch the video after reading, thank you.)
My opponent comparing UK exit to the French and American Revolutions is a wonderful exercise in rhetoric, but nothing more. Dear voter, do not be fooled by this Pied Piper playing the tune of prosperity over yonder; for it is not there. If the UK wishes to overtake Germany as the largest economy in Europe it will only do so working alongside Europe as a member. If the UK thinks the break up between it and the EU will be amicable and business as usual afterwards then this is simply wishful thinking. The UK is not in the same economic position to model itself after Norway (even Norway doesn’t think the UK should try it).
If the UK doesn’t like its position within the EU, instead of dropping out and ungratefully abandoning its allies it should look to cooperation with them! It is David Cameron who has reduced the UK’s standing, but it can be recovered. The UK does not need to play the maverick. Germany is respected because it believes in a free Europe and is fighting to keep it so. The UK should stand by Germany and work towards prosperity! Not foolishly seek it on its own accord. The EU has been good to the UK, a destination for exports and giver of investment. The UK has been treated special for a long time within the EU; this threat of exit is at best a ploy for more special favors. The UK wants to cut its own nose to spite Europe.
My opponent mentions the membership dues and tries to make it look big with a daily figure. It is in the low billions annually. What my opponent does not mention is the high billions the UK receives via trade. These far outweigh the membership fees. Which by the way the UK would still have to pay even if it left the EU if it wanted to be in the EEC! UK seems happy to lose its representation to gain a few bucks. The irony is that the Cameron administration devalued the UK’s representation. How strange that the man who could improve the UK’s standing seeks to exit instead of seek agreement and the greater profits that would come with it.
I end my argument with a humorous touch. The video above shows in a humorous manner what other Europeans think of each other. At the 1:09 mark we see what the UK thinks of the EU and vice versa. And what do we see the EU thinks of the UK? A country on the verge of leaving, but never quite doing so, threatening but never leaving. Why is this? Because the UK knows it shouldn’t leave but wants more out of the EU. The UK can get what it wants from the EU, with cooperation and continued membership.
P.s: I would also like to thank GrndMstr1337 for the debate. It has been quite informative!
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