Thursday, 31 March 2016

London Universities for Britain response to Cambridge for Europe Group (Students for Europe) claims of 116 reasons to vote to REMAIN in the EU

This article features 116 TERRIBLE ARGUMENTS made by the pro-EU campaign group "Cambridge For Europe (Students For Britain)".

It also corrects these false claims in no uncertain terms by way of input from "London Universities for Britain" and a few thoughts from myself.

Please SHARE this article in an effort to expose the ludicrous reasoning touted by the REMAIN IN side.


CLAIM: 1. We would forfeit access to the single market.

FACT: You do not need to be a member of the EU to trade with the EU. Non-EU Switzerland trades 5x per capita the amount which we do with other EU countries. 

CLAIM: 2. We would lose access to the free market (single and free trade markets are not the same thing). It would take up to 10 years to renegotiate.

FACT: See above. Claims that it would take up to 10 years to negotiate a trade deal with the EU are misplaced.

CLAIM: 3. The EU has 53 bilateral trade deals. Each one would have to be re-negotiated if the UK left the EU.

FACT: 3. The EU has no trade deals with some of the fastest-growing emergent economies including India, China, Pakistan, Australia and more. Being in the EU prevents us from signing our own free trade deals. In 2/3 of cases, after an EU-signed trade deal, Britain's trade with the country in question actually decreases. Remember, we had to give up our seat on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to be a member of this club!

CLAIM: 4. UK’s largest business group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), is determined to stay in the EU.

FACT:  The CBI receives millions of pounds each year from the EU which goes directly into economic analysis. Members of our campaign group interrupted one of David Cameron's CBI speeches last year by holding up the banner: "CBI = Voice of Brussels".

CLAIM: 5. And at the same time, hundreds of smaller business also backed the campaign to stay. 81%, no less!

FACT: The CBI deliberately set the conditions of their polling to reflect their own agendas. In late 2015, a CBI survey contained only 20% of its responses from firms with fewer than 50 employees, yet 99% of Britain's 5.2 million firms fall into this category.

CLAIM: 6. More generally, 81% of Northern Irish businesspeople want UK to stay in the EU.

FACT: The Federation of Small Businesses found that almost 50% of Northern Irish small businesses are open to voting to leave the EU.

CLAIM: 7. Confederation of British Industry (CBI) estimates that the average British family gets £10 for every £1 put in.

FACT: Is anyone still listening to the CBI? The same group who said it would be disastrous if we didn't adopt the Euro. There is no evidence to back up this claim.

CLAIM: 8. The UK gets a special rebate – so we pay less than comparable countries (Germany and France).

FACT: Since 2008, the value of the UK’s rebate has fallen by £10.4 billion. The drop in the value of the rebate is worth £445 for every family in the UK and would have been enough to pay for over 60,000 nurses annually since 2008.

CLAIM: 9. The EU budget is smaller, than its previous budget. A good sign that we’re moving in the right direction.

FACT: Just because the EU budget is marginally smaller is no reason to stay in. A net £9bn+ of UK taxpayer funds is still being handed to Brussels each year.

CLAIM: 10. The UK’s exports to the EU represent 12% of our GDP; EU exports to the UK account for 3% of its GDP.

FACT: The UK has a trade deficit with the EU equal to £61.7 billion each year. There is no conceivable situation where EU countries would want to forfeit this huge source of income for their economies.

CLAIM: 11. EU membership doesn’t stop Germany trading with China (for example) – which is three times as much as the UK.

FACT: EU membership prevents us from signing our own trade deals. Again proves our point that you do not need to be in the EU to trade with EU members.

CLAIM: 12. US has ruled out a UK only trade deal.

FACT: The US trade envoy who 'ruled out a UK only trade deal' used to work for the EU. Surprise Surprise. Of course the US will sign a trade deal with arguably it's biggest ally in the world.

CLAIM: 13. A German poll identified the fact that 29% of firms would cut capacity.

13. Major firms, including Boeing, Toyota, Tate & Lyle and many others have said that Brexit would have no impact on their UK operations. HSBC recently voted to keep itself headquartered in the UK, fully aware of the 'risks' of Brexit.

CLAIM: 14. EU budgets are regularly given a clean bill of rights.

FACT: In 2014 4.4% of the EU's spending (€6.27bn) didn't follow it's own rules and thus should not have been paid out.

CLAIM: 15. Net contribution to the EU is 0.54% of the UK’s total GDP. By contrast, the national government spends 49% of total GDP on running costs.

FACT: The UK is in the situation where it has a huge trade deficit with the EU - and has to pay over £9bn each year for this 'privilege'.

CLAIM: 16. Half a billion people live in the EU: that’s 503 million.

FACT: 508 million people live in the EU, although this is (hopefully) to reduce to around 440 million after June 23rd. The Commonwealth population is 2.328bn and is growing far more quickly. The Commonwealth is also a larger market than the EU if the UK is excluded.

CLAIM: 17. Of the 21 million companies which generated €12.89 trillion, the huge majority of money is spent within EU borders.

FACT: This isn't an argument - that firms spend money they make inside the EU. This happens everywhere, not just the EU. 

CLAIM: 18. Significant efforts have been made to support milk producers.

FACT: Milk consumers in the EU are paying far above world market prices for milk, due to heavy subsidisation of farmers.

CLAIM: 19. Passporting system: EU law allows financial and insurance firms to carry out their services merely by establishing an office in the other Member State. This could not be the case if we were outside the EU; an eventuality which would be very damaging to our financial sector.

FACT: In many cases firms find it incredibly difficult to 'passport' their business across EU countries. There is still no single market for services.

CLAIM: 20. If London stops being integrated into the EU markets, it might lose its place as global financial hub.

FACT: London's position as a global financial hub is reliant on it's time zone, it's language, it's working culture, it's infrastructure, high pay and certainly not the EU.

CLAIM: 21. London would certainly lose its place as the leading area for euro-denominated wholesale banking - because the ECB’s control would be less, and there would be greater costs.

FACT: A significant proportion of financial sector firms would welcome a break from the excessive over regulation of the EU. 

CLAIM: 22. Administrative and compliance procedures for importing and exporting both goods and services are much simpler within the EU, enhancing efficiency and lowering costs.

FACT: Britain thrived for hundreds of years as a globally trading nation - it can do so again.

CLAIM: 23. The EU has removed the barriers to open public procurement within the internal market, opening up other EU government’s contracts to UK business.

FACT: This has been of minimal use to UK firms. British companies want to think internationally, not being confined to a declining protectionist political project.

CLAIM: 24. The EU deploys trade protection measures to protect UK business and agriculture from unfairly dumped or subsidised products being sold in the EU’s single market such as aluminium foil (from Brazil), bikes (from China), rainbow trout (from Turkey) and a range of steel products (from China).

FACT: Tell that to the thousands of steel workers whose jobs have gone in Redcar and the thousands more facing the threat of redundancy right now in Port Talbot. 37 EU anti-dumping measures have failed.

CLAIM: 25. As set forth in the EU’s Working Time Directive (2004/88/EC), all member countries are required to guarantee a limit to weekly working hours, which must not exceed 48 hours on average, including any overtime, and further limitations ensuring health and safety. All UK workers may "opt out" of the 48-hour week by individually signing an opt out form, but it has overall improved worker satisfaction.

FACT: The UK currently offers 28 days of paid leave per year, more than the 20 days mandated by the EU's Working Time Directive. Can someone please explain to the pro-EU side that 28 is greater than 20? 

CLAIM: 26. The value of the UK to India is as an “entry point” to the EU, according to their Prime Minister, Modi.

FACT: Britain's links with India extend far beyond our membership of the EU. We have linguistic, cultural and historic links with India which will be strengthened in the event of a Brexit.

CLAIM: 27. President Xi of China, also stated that he saw Britain as having an important role in shaping the EU.

FACT: The president of China (and other world leaders) make such statements because the government asks them to, not because of any strong sentiments on the issue. It was the same during the Scottish independence referendum.

CLAIM: 28. Northern Ireland and Wales (both net contributors) would likely pressure Westminster to divert enough money to make up loss of EU funds.

FACT: Funding for Northern Ireland and Wales could be increased if we leave the EU. At the very least, the government democratically elected by the British people will make decisions about funding, not EU bureaucrats.

CLAIM: 29. The EU is more successful than smaller economies at taking on multinationals - and every economy is smaller than the EU’s - for example, when it comes to recouping tax.

FACT: Large multinationals are able to avoid paying tax in EU member countries through basing themselves in EU-sanctioned tax havens such as Luxembourg and Monaco. Piers Corbyn has called the EU "the tool of big corporations and asset strippers".


CLAIM: 30. Consumers enjoy up to 6% higher income per capita (circa £3,300 per annum) due to the single market.

FACT: This claim has been debunked multiple times. See: (Factcheck 1), for a more detailed, neutral analysis of this.

CLAIM: 31. Those expats residing in other European countries would be likely to be cut off from free health care at point of delivery.

FACT: UK expats in other EU countries will receive exactly the same health treatment as now. If they were cut off from free healthcare at the point of delivery, the same would happen to the 3 million EU citizens currently entitled to free NHS treatment. It is in nobody's interest to stop this.

CLAIM: 32. Between 1.4 and 2.2 million British people live in other EU countries - many of whom would have needed visas had it not been for the EU. This is, of course, before we even mention the 60 million visits abroad per annum by UK residents.

FACT: A situation where people require visas to work elsewhere is the way the rest of the world functions. UK citizens currently enjoy visa-free travel access to 173 countries, 146 of whom we are not in a political union with.

CLAIM: 33. There’s plenty of space in the UK to accommodate growth: only 6.8% of UK land is built on.

FACT: Only 6.8% of land in the UK is built on, but with the population increasing at a rate of a city the size of Newcastle every year, the current rate of migration is unsustainable. Moreover, around 1/3 of those entering the country each year move to London, which is experiencing a severe housing crisis and strain on public transport as a result.

CLAIM: 34. Immigrants are net contributors to the UK economy.

FACT: The current level of net migration to the UK is putting tremendous pressure on housing, the NHS and school places. We need to take back control. 

CLAIM: 35. The Schengen free-movement zone doesn’t actually apply to the UK and never has: this means that there are still border checks at the border. No need to “reclaim” our borders then.

FACT: EU citizens have an automatic right to live and work in the UK while we are members of the EU. Voting to leave is the only way in which we can control the current rate of net migration into this country.

CLAIM: 36. The grand total of child benefit that goes to EU migrants whose children live in another Member State is 0.26%.

FACT: Child benefit remittances to other EU countries is of largely negligible overall value. What is more concerning is that a British Prime Minister has to beg other EU leaders in order to get these benefits paid at the local level.

CLAIM: 37. 32% of EU migrants have university degrees, as opposed to 21% of the native population.

FACT: Skilled migration is welcome and beneficial when it is controlled in order to suit the needs of the economy.

CLAIM: 38. Net increase of jobs for UK natives between 1997 and 2013, thanks to EU migration, was 1.1 million.

FACT: Between 1997 and 2013, 2/3 of jobs created went to recent arrivals. This figure is from INFacts's own website.

CLAIM: 39. EU citizens have the right to enter and reside for three months, but they have no right to social assistance

FACT: All 508 million EU citizens have the right to live and work in the UK. This could rise by another 70 million if Turkey joins the EU as is planned.

CLAIM: 40. EU law establishes minimum rights for airline passengers.

FACT: No other country in the world has rights for airline passengers, according to the In campaign.

CLAIM: 41. Lowered airline fares by defining principles used to dictate the charges.

FACT: Greater competition between airlines as well as new technologies has led to lower airfares across Europe.

CLAIM: 42. European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided £46 million for the new Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, according to Stephen Bridge, Chief Executive of Papworth Hospital.

FACT: Whenever you hear 'EU funding' from now on, think 'British taxpayers' money'. It is a deceitful illusion that this money just comes from nowhere.

CLAIM: 43. Richard Howitt, MEP has noted that the EU provided £4 million for a rail bypass around Ely Station in Cambridgeshire.

FACT: British taxpayers money. 7.2% of our Gross EU DAILY membership fee.

CLAIM: 44. The latest research shows that close to 14% of UK jobs are supported by EU investment.

FACT: The claim of 14% (or 3 million) jobs linked to the EU has been widely circulated by the remain side. It is taken from the proportion of UK GDP linked to EU exports (13-14%) and assuming that an equivalent proportion of UK jobs are linked to the EU. If the same cursory calculation is used for the EU, it shows that between 5 and 6.5 million jobs in EU countries are associated with UK trade. This is another compelling reason why Britain will get a free and favourable trade deal in the event of a Brexit.

CLAIM: 45. Only 5% of UK’s total workforce comes from the EU.

FACT: This is an irrelevant fact. As has already been shown, EU migrants crowd out British workers. The Bank of England's Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, has noted that for each 1% increase in the share of migrants in the working age population, the wages of the 5% lowest paid workers falls by a further 0.6%.

CLAIM: 46. Leaving the EU threatens social unity with Scotland.

FACT: Support for independence is currently at its lowest point since the Scottish referendum. Nicola Sturgeon herself has admitted that she will not push for another referendum unless there is a sustained, large lead for the Independence side.

CLAIM: 47. It also threatens Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland relations: the 1998 Good Friday agreement relied on open borders, which was achieved only through EU law.

FACT: Arguing that leaving the EU threatens the Northern Ireland peace process is the height of scaremongering. The UK has always had an open border with the Republic of Ireland and this will not change.


CLAIM: 48. The EU is an important part of the UK’s fishing industry. UK fishing industry profits are going up.

FACT: The EU's Common Fisheries Policy has reduced Britain's fishing rights to a mere 12 nautical miles from its coastline, far less than the UN's Law of the Sea's 200 mile conventional guidance. Tens of thousands of jobs in Britain's fishing industry has been lost due to the EU's policies.

CLAIM: 49. Only 10% of farmers would be able to survive without EU subsidies which make up between 35 and 50% of farmers gross income.

FACT: The UK currently pays £4.6bn into the Common Agricultural Policy and gets £2.9bn in return, so there is plenty of room for UK farmers to continue receiving subsidies. The Farming Minister, George Eustice, has said that these subsidies would be kept for at least the next 5 years in the event of a Brexit.

CLAIM: 50. The EU introduced rules that ban petrol with lead and limit the amount of sulphur in diesel fuels in order to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

FACT: The EU strongly encouraged motorists to switch to 'cleaner' diesel engine cars, providing tax breaks and other incentives, which actually turned out to be far more polluting than their petrol equivalents.

CLAIM: 51. The EU Bathing Water Directive of 2006 contributed to the UK no longer dumping sewage water into the beach.

FACT: This could equally have been achieved without the influence of Brussels. A recent doubling of EU water standards forced the cancellation of a 100 year old swim in Burnham-on-Sea, despite the beach in question being cleaner than ever before.

CLAIM: 52. Before the Nature Directive, the UK was losing 15% of its protected sites every year. Today, that figure is 1%.

FACT: The EU's nature directive is indeed a positive step for the protection of our natural environment. However, the RSPB has condemned the European Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker for attempting to weaken both the Birds and Habitats Directives.

CLAIM: 53. A positive influence on air quality.

FACT: Another area which requires no element of EU interference. Also, it's clearly not working - in 2016 London broke the EU's air pollution limits for the entire year in just 8 days.

CLAIM: 54. Climate change package, which was extremely thorough, made waves when it was introduced.

FACT: The recent COP 21 Climate Change Forum in Paris was an example of international collaboration. Problems such as Climate Change, as the pro-EU side point out, transcend borders, so cannot be dealt with at a national or even a regional level; they require global cooperation.

CLAIM: 55. The EU plays a vital role in making steps forward in environmental protection at the international level.

55. The EU had no role in the above Conference.

CLAIM: 56. Conservationists say that British wildlife will be threatened if Britain leaves “some of the strongest wildlife protection measures in the world” behind should we vote for Brexit.

FACT: Britain does not have to be part of a failing political union in order to protect it's environment. Those who claim that environmental protections would be weaker in the event of a Brexit are speculating. At least you can vote out the British government if you don't like their policies - this is not possible with the unelected European Commission.

CLAIM: 57. The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management found that 93% of the 841 respondents upheld the view that the EU has had a beneficial impact on Britain’s ecology and environment.

FACT: See answer to "CLAIM: 56".

CLAIM: 58. EU has established a series of high level protection measures for food security: including the European Food Safety Authority.

FACT: The European Food Safety Authority failed to deal effectively with the horse meat scandal in 2013, being susceptible to false labeling, poor food quality and traceability issues in the EU food chain.

CLAIM: 59. British travellers can have their healthcare costs covered for free, or at a reduced cost, by way of the European Health Insurance Card.

FACT: The EHIC card works everywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA), including Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

CLAIM: 60. EU law also gives the NHS the ability to seek reimbursement from other EU countries for the cost of healthcare provided in the UK to visitors or state pensioners from other EU member states.

FACT: Health tourism is estimated to cost the NHS over £1 billion each year. Much more of this 'Health Tourism expenditure' goes un-recovered.

CLAIM: 61. As well as knowing that UK workers are protected wherever they work in the EU, British businesses also know that their EU trading partners are operating to the same standards of workers’ rights.

FACT: Many countries were allowed to join the EU despite not meeting (and still not meeting) the entry criteria, including the treatment of workers.

CLAIM: 62. EU law protects workers against discrimination based on sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief.

FACT: UK law on workplace discrimination predates the existence of the EU and goes much further than EU legislation sets out.

CLAIM: 63. EU law protects employees’ terms and conditions when the businesses for which they work are restructured or reconfigured.

FACT: UK law does this too, far more effectively.

CLAIM: 64. The UK is being forced to stick to air pollution targets, through EU directive (2008/50/EC): it had previously ignored a Supreme Court ruling that it had breached its own targets four years running.

FACT: See the London pollution figures for how well this is working.

CLAIM: 65. CBI estimates that with support offered by the EU, green business could add a further £20 billion to the UK economy.

FACT: Green business's contribution to the UK economy is in no way linked to our EU membership.

CLAIM: 66. The Roadmap 2050 report by the EFC (European Climate Foundation), finds that a fully integrated Internal Energy Market (given the UK’s energy importation dependence (2014 saw imports of 46%), being in a common energy market lowers prices) in combination with a functioning Emissions Trading System can lead to potential savings of up to £70bn per year towards 2030.

FACT: The US's energy prices are 50% of the UK's. Norway's are 25%. The EU's regulations on energy production are killing our steel industry and are artificially inflating energy prices.

CLAIM: 67. The Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research is a leading partner in the EU’s Carbon CAP project researching ways of reducing the carbon footprint of the entire European Union.

FACT: The majority of our academic collaboration is with the US. Those projects which we undertake with other EU nations are predominantly done on a bilateral basis and not at an EU-wide level.

CLAIM: 68. After adopting REACH (regulation on evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) in 2007, over 9000 chemicals have been evaluated and according to an estimate by UCL (University College London), the savings due to the regulation reach will amount to €284 billion over 30 years.

FACT: See above. Collaboration with other European countries will continue after leaving the European Union, just as we collaborate with many other non-EU universities.


CLAIM: 69. The UK has been on the winning side in 97.4% of votes in the Council of Ministers between 2004 and 2009 (consider the % which is achieved by political parties for their supporters in this country, by contrast). Between 2009 and 2015 this ‘dropped’ to 86.7%.

FACT: Since 1996, when records began, Britain has objected to 55 new laws in the Council of Ministers and has been defeated all 55 times. If that is 'Stronger In', then it is obviously not effective.

CLAIM: 70. Consistency between domestic policy and EU policy is fourth highest between UK and the EU of any country in the EU; on highly salient issues it is second highest.

FACT: The UK is the most outvoted nation in the EU in the past 5 years.

CLAIM: 71. European Council is constituted by heads of government Member States: no democratic deficit here.

FACT: The operations of the Council of Ministers, such as the controversial and potentially damaging TTIP deal, are carried out behind closed doors, with little opportunity for MEPs to make amendments or influence the shaping of policy.

CLAIM: 72. The Council of the European Union is constituted by the most relevant government minister: no democratic deficit here either.

FACT: The issue of the democratic deficit is usually reserved for the idea that Britain cannot effectively influence EU policy, it's MEPs are underrepresented and that the European Commission is unelected.

CLAIM: 73. Members of European Parliament are directly elected by the Member State’s electorate.

FACT: The UK is second behind only France in terms of per capita representation in the European Parliament. Proportionally, Malta has 15x the influence of the UK.

CLAIM: 74. If you aren’t represented, it is because the UK barely votes: only 33%, amongst the lowest of all EU countries. In fact, more people voted in the third series of Big Brother (2002) (22 million) than voted for the 2003 European Elections (half - 11 million).

FACT: The turnout in European elections is likely to be because voters are unaware of the extent to which EU legislation impacts them. The low turnout raises serious questions as to the legislative credibility of the European Parliament.

CLAIM: 75. Alternatively, it could be because UK MEPs often don’t bother to attend the Parliament to vote… Looking at you UKIP.

FACT: There's not much point in voting if you are consistently outvoted in the European Parliament, despite gaining the most MEPs in the 2014 European Elections. If ALL UK MEPs vote exactly the same way, the UK would still only have 8% of the say in the European Parliament. (majority of UKIP MEPs have an 80%+ average attendance record in the current European Parliament). They were also the only party to consistently oppose the dangerous TTIP trade deal, including in one instance when the public debate was attempted to be shut down, when only 10 of the 20 Labour MEPs turned up, and even less of the 20 Conservative Party MEPs turned up.

CLAIM: 76. While it is true that the Commission isn’t elected, the commissioner for each country are directly selected by the directly elected government of that country. In addition the Commission can only propose legislation, not actually adopt it.

FACT: The European Commission is the only body able to propose legislation and is entirely unelected. In fact, as is the case with Juncker, many of its members actually had to lose a domestic election before being nominated as their country's Commissioner. Moreover, EU law prevents Commissioners from acting in the interests of their own nations. In 1999, all 20 members of the European Commission resigned as a result of a corruption investigation.

CLAIM: 77. Parliament decided to give competencies to the EU in the European Communities Act 1972 Act. There is no loss of sovereignty.

FACT: Parliament is only sovereign in the sense that it has the power to revoke it's granting of powers to the EU. The EU treaties explicitly state that EU law is supreme over UK law in a large number of areas.

CLAIM: 78. The EU is made out of democracies and promotes democratic discussion between European countries: withdrawing sends a message on how the UK really feels about European democracy.

FACT: There is not much democratic about a Union which imposes laws on its constituent members, even if those laws are against the wishes of the peoples of the nation states. There is no European demos to make democratic decisions.

CLAIM: 79. Renationalisation is still possible: it is explicitly referenced.

FACT: EU law explicitly states that multiple train operating companies must be allowed to use the same track competitively. While this does not mean that all nationalisation is out of the question, it does mean that nationalisation cannot go as far as many, including Mr Corbyn, would like it to.

CLAIM: 80. EU reform is already happening, despite claims to the contrary.

FACT: David Cameron's so-called 'reforms' package is fooling nobody. The sight of our Prime Minister toiling until the early hours begging EU leaders to make concessions is a clear sign of the limited influence we have in the EU. No fundamental changes were on offer, in fact the Lisbon Treaty itself was not up for debate in this instance.

CLAIM: 81. Law making is becoming better. A clear example is the Better Regulation programme.

FACT: EU law making is still very slow and archaic, taking long periods of time to come into practice.

CLAIM: 82. And the EU Commission created a Regulatory Fitness (REFIT) Platform, which examines old legislation to see whether it is fit for purpose or whether it should be repealed and simplified.

FACT: This is the same Commission which no democratic verdict can replace. The EU is not fit for purpose.

CLAIM: 83. Europe has been free for war for 68 years: whilst NATO has contributed, NATO also lead to the Cold War. The EU has not.

FACT: A classic example of the confusion between the EU and the continent of Europe. The EU's attempts to incorporate Ukraine arguably led to the country's conflict with Russia. NATO is in fact the organisation which has kept the European peace. The fact that the European Union was not established in name until after the Cold War had ended speaks volumes about the levels of thought put into the In argument.The EU intends to create its own armed forces by merging those of its member states' in order to enforce its Common Foreign and Security Policy.

CLAIM: 84. EU law would always apply where a good or service went into a territory governed by EU law: by leaving the EU, the UK would simply forfeit any ability to influence that law.

FACT: Only 5% of UK firms trade with the EU, yet 100% of British businesses have to abide by their punitive regulation.

CLAIM: 85. The UK can, and does, obtain opt outs to pieces of EU legislation with which it does not agree - Protocol 20 to TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) was the opt-out for the prohibition of internal border controls, Protocol 15 to TFEU was the opt-out for the single currency.

FACT: The UK can block proposals only if Council members representing more than 35% of the EU population agree. We are consistently outvoted in this system.

CLAIM: 86. The UK played a leading role in external policy shaping of the EU: for example, the measures against Islamic State.

FACT: We do not need to be part of a political union to collaborate in defence matters, we do so with the USA all the time. We had no collaboration with the EU in our action against ISIS, and defence matters are usually run if in collaboration with Europe through NATO and the United Nations (UN). Two organisations that hold no links with the European Union.

CLAIM: 87. In fact, a recent study shows that the UK wields the most influence in the EU council.

FACT: In 1973 we had 17% of the vote in the European Council and this has now reduced to 8.2%.

CLAIM: 88. Unlike the UK’s democracy, the European Parliament almost never suffers from ‘party politics’; no cheap political points being scored against another party instead of concentrating on policies which actually benefit people’s lives.

FACT: Those who think that the European Parliament does not suffer from cheap political point scoring have clearly never watched one of their debates. Numerous factions exist within the EU, usually based on where the parties place themselves on the political spectrum.


CLAIM: 89. Properly construed, only 13.2% of laws are made in Brussels.

FACT: The amount of law coming from the EU varies from year to year. When regulation is taken into account, between 50% and 80% of British laws are made in the EU in any given year. EU Commissioner Viviane Reding has said that around 70% of British laws come from the EU. 

CLAIM: 90. We would leave the protection of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

FACT: As mentioned before, the UK's social rights already extend far beyond the EU's designation. Leaving the EU provides the opportunity for a more appropriate British Bill of Rights to be established. 

CLAIM: 91. British individuals and businesses would be open to discrimination: we would no longer be protected by the rules which prevent Member States of the EU not being protectionist in favour of their own domestic businesses.

FACT: The EU is already protectionist against non-EU countries, impoverishing African farmers who cannot compete with the heavily subsidised EU produce and the common external tariff put on their goods.

CLAIM: 92. It took 143 days to process DNA of a suspect, and compare it to databases from other EU countries before the EU. Now it takes 15 minutes.

FACT: It's called technological progress. Is the Cambridge for Europe Group claiming that those technological advancements all a result of the EU?

CLAIM: 93. A top US general has argued that ‘Brexit’ could upset the NATO alliance.

FACT: The former head of MI6, among others, has claimed that Britain's national security would be strengthened if we leave the EU, owing to stronger borders and an improved capacity to deport extremists. FYI: NATO has no connection to the EU, it does with its member states. Why would Brexit disrupt a National Alliance of nations that has no connection to Political Union?

CLAIM: 94. The UK would miss out on having input on a possible EU wide copyright protection.

FACT: There is currently no EU wide copyright law, despite the idea being raised over 5 years ago. This re-emphasises how slow and bureaucratic the EU is.

CLAIM: 95. European Working Time Directive stops exploitation of those who might be pressured into working longer hours. But you can still opt-out.

FACT: Oops, you appear to have put this reason in twice. That would make it 115 reasons, would it not? See No. 25 for response.

CLAIM: 96. European Arrest Warrant is a powerful tool combatting crime.

FACT: The European Arrest warrant is an absolute travesty for justice. British student Andrew Symeou was held in a Greek jail for four years after being extradited under a European Arrest Warrant, and was found not guilty in just two-and-a-half hours by a Greek court. Time that he will never get back. This is not the only example of the failings of the EAW.

CLAIM: 97. Extradition takes three months through the EAW, as opposed to 10 months with non-EU states

FACT: See above for the problems with the European Arrest Warrant. Just think about it. You could be required to attend a countries jail, due to mistaken identity, false claim or something you are not guilty of. Don't make any long-term plans though. You could be there for a while!

CLAIM: 98. The EU has adopted a general set of rules for prison management.

FACT: The European Union tried to push through votes for prisoners, despite strong opposition from the British population.

CLAIM: 99. The UK does lose quite a few cases brought before to the European Court of Justice – but still does much better than comparable countries, for example France.

FACT: You've just made our point for us. So what you are saying is that France is impacted badly by the European Court of Justice, and so are we?

CLAIM: 100. 40 different pieces of legislation were replaced with the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals in 2007: effectively strengthening overview of chemicals.

FACT: The fact that 40 rules could be standardised into one new piece of legislation in 2007 displays the over-zealous nature of EU regulation.

CLAIM: 101. EU has significantly reduced the cost of mobile phone roaming prices.

FACT: Again, it was only barriers to competition within the EU which caused high mobile phone roaming charges in the first place.

CLAIM: 102. 28 children rescued as part of a joint operation of the UK Met Police and Europol, part of Operation Golf.

FACT: This is an isolated example. The BBC's Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner, has claimed that nearly all the most important intelligence-sharing with Europe tends to be done bilaterally, country to country, rather than through any EU-wide organisation. 

CLAIM: 103. And the head of Europol (a Brit) has stated that leaving the EU “will make Britain’s job harder to fight crime and terrorism because it will not have the same access to very well-developed European cooperation mechanisms that it currently has today.” Even if cooperation continues, Mr. Wainwright stated, the cost would be high.

FACT: The head of Europol has also claimed that there are 5,000 potential IS jihadists in the EU. The Brussels terror attacks displayed how there is no effective sharing of intelligence at an EU level. The strongest intelligence sharing program in the world is the 'Five Eyes' partnership, involving Britain, America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Stronger In?

CLAIM: 104. Thanks to Eurobail, a UK citizen can contest criminal proceedings against them in other EU states.

FACT: This didn't seem to come in very useful in the case of Andrew Symeou, did it?

CLAIM: 105. A restraining order issued in the UK is recognised throughout the EU: if you are being harassed English law will protect you throughout the EU.

FACT: EU law is supreme over UK law. 

CLAIM: 106. EU prudential regulation has been heavily influenced by the UK: this is just one example of the influence the UK has.

FACT: But it isn't enforced by the UK, implemented by a UK Government or a UK Court of Law. We should stop pretending that the UK has any real influence in the EU. We don't.

CLAIM: 107. The UK’s health security is improved by being in the EU with its well-established system for the surveillance and early warning of infectious diseases which the UK has often called upon to deal with threats to the health of its population.

FACT: The NHS is not in any way reliant on the EU for the monitoring of diseases. As with academia, the majority of our health collaboration is with the United States.

CLAIM: 108. The H1N1 Bird flu pandemic was safely contained partly thanks to the EU’s early warning health response system.

FACT: The EU's imposition of austerity on Greece has resulted in an increase in suicides, child poverty and even the return of Tuberculosis in the country.


CLAIM: 109. 200,000 UK students have used the Erasmus programme; there are 125,000 EU students currently studying at UK universities.

FACT: The Erasmus program is not limited to EU students. Swiss, Norwegian, and even Israeli (which isn't even in Europe, let alone the EU) students have access to Erasmus.

CLAIM: 110. Those who undertake Erasmus programme are 50% more likely to avoid long-term unemployment.

FACT: Which is nice, although Erasmus is not limited to EU members.

CLAIM: 111. UK received €6.9bn of European funding under FP7 (18% of the total), resulting in the region of 100,000 collaborative links.

FACT: *British taxpayers' money. As of 31/03/2016, the UK tax-payer has contributed Five hundred, eight billion, two million, nine hundred thousand pounds to the European project. OVER HALF A TRILLION POUNDS!

CLAIM: 112. ‘ANTicipating the Global Onset of New Epidemics’ (ANTIGONE): a program of 14 partners (including the University of Cambridge – my alma mater) was established thanks to €12 million given by the EU over five years. It is the leading project on understanding the movement of diseases.

FACT: *British taxpayers' money. Basically a quarter of one days membership fee given back to the UK over five years.

CLAIM: 113. UK receives €1.3bn of funding under H2020.

FACT: *British taxpayers' money. Over what period is this sum given? Yearly? Over the entire course of our membership? Just to put this sum of money into context. That is 24 days of the UK's gross membership fee to the European Union.

CLAIM: 114. The UK hosts 22% of all European Research Council grants – the highest number of grants of any member country.

FACT: *British taxpayers' money. The UK's universities make up around 40% of the top institutions in the EU, so should receive proportionally more in research grants than they currently do.

CLAIM: 115. A harmonised series of procedures and commercialisation of research helps the development of research.

FACT: The UK's major academic links are with the US. Collaboration with EU universities is done bilaterally, there is no harmonised, EU-wide research collaboration.

CLAIM: 116. The UK is the largest beneficiary of EU funding for health research (over £466 million) from 2007-2012.

FACT: *Still British taxpayers' money. In this instance it is 8 days gross UK membership fee given back to us over the course of 5 years. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Thomas, I'm curious: do you know the source for the 2/3 of EU-signed trade deals claim above?