I don’t know about you, but I’m all EU referendumed out!
If I see one more news article with David Camerons “determined” face reading from a script prepared by Lynton Crosby telling us he’s “battling for Britain” I think I’ll scream.
Anyway, I decided to do my own research in order to help me make up my mind and here for what its worth are the results…
Courtesy of @Panopticon6 on Twitter …Villiers, Gove, Patel, Grayling, Duncan-Smith: no not the line-up of a public services hating tribute act but leaders of OUT campaign.
What has the EU ever done for us?
The UK, as most of us know, is a net contributor to the EU budget. Therefore it’s understandable that people in this country want to learn more about how we benefit from our collective contribution.
Membership of the EU helps UK citizens with;
- Moving around Europe freely and safely
- Giving UK consumers a fair deal
- Making our food and environment safer
- Fighting crime and policing borders
(click on links for more information)
David Cameron wants Britain to stay in the EU, now he has got some powers back from it. The Labour Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems are also in favour of staying in. According to polls, the public seems pretty evenly split on the issue
Who benefits from EU funding?
WALES: Between 2014–2020, Wales will benefit from around £1.8bn European Structural Funds investment.
The funding will support the following regional programmes:
- West Wales and the Valleys – covering 15 of the less developed local authority areas in North and West Wales and the Valleys
- East Wales – covering 7 of the more developed local authority areas in East Wales
The funds help support research and innovation, the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and connectivity and urban development. They are helping to tackle poverty by helping people into work, increasing skills and supporting young people.
Together with match funding, the funds will drive a total investment of £4bn across Wales.
Wales also benefits from a range of other EU funding programmes covering European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) which are delivered through the Welsh Government.
The European Commission also directly manages several EU funding streams which provides further opportunities for growth and jobs across Wales. Horizon 2020, worth £65bn, is driving research and innovation across the EU, while COSME, Creative Europe, Connecting Europe, Life+, and Erasmus+, are investing in business competitiveness, creative and cultural industries, transport, energy and digital networks, conservation and the environment and studying opportunities abroad.
Bespoke support and a new Centre of Excellence to help Scotland’s manufacturers innovate and expand have been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The funding, including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund, will enable companies to capture new opportunities presented by a move to a more circular economy. Read the full press release here.
Find out more about the Circular Economy Accelerator Programme here.
A £60 million programme to support young people in South West Scotland into secure and sustainable employment has been launched today.
The funding is from the European Commission’s Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) which aims to tackle high levels of youth unemployment across the European Union. Full press release available here.
Read more about the Youth Employment Initiative here.
Scottish Government investment in cities is delivering tenfold, with £4 million bringing £40 million in return, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has revealed.
Read more about the Smart Cities initiative here.
The EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation is a unique Structural Funds programme aimed at reinforcing progress towards a peaceful and stable society in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.
European Social Fund (EDF) (206 million Euro) aims to combat poverty and enhance social inclusion by reducing economic inactivity and to increase the skills base of those currently in work and future potential participants in the workforce
ERDF Investment for Growth & Jobs Programme for NI (308 million Euro)
Creative Europe aims to support the cultural, creative and audio-visual sectors
Erasmus+ aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe
European Fisheries Fund aim to provide financial support for the fisheries sector
Horizon 2020 aims to support Research and Innovation in science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges.
N Ireland Rural Development Programme aims to sustain and grow rural development.
Rights, Equality and Citizenship aims to support projects in non discrimination, anti-racism, disability, gender equality, right of the child, and prevention of violence against children, young people, women and other groups at risk (Daphne).
How does the EU affect UK laws?
Within the UK, Parliament is still considered supreme. However, when English law contradicts EU law, EU law prevails
Some may think that being part of the EU means that certain British qualities may be stripped from UK citizens and replaced by qualities which the EU expects every Member State to follow. These ‘myths’ are not entirely true.
Whilst all Member States follow a lot of the same EU principles, the UK is still left to declare its own identity. For example, the UK is a member of the EU, but is not part of the single European currency – the euro.
Another myth is that the EU wants to remove the Queen from UK passports. Although there have been ideas to include all EU citizen’s right to protection outside of the EU within passports, under no situation would this replace any existing text or symbol referring to the Queen.
There has also been speculation that Brussels is to force the UK to change the emergency number 999 to 112. This is not true. The UK is able to keep the emergency number 999 – however, 112 has been introduced as the emergency number which can be used anywhere in the EU. This facilitates travellers across the EU by only needing to remember one emergency number rather than 27 different ones.
Europe’s power is easy to miss, but it is clear that being part of the EU brings many changes and advantages to our daily lives. Whilst many rules and regulations have been introduced by the EU to apply equally to all Member States, the UK has also been able to retain its identity as a constitutional monarchy.
I’ve decided that I will vote to stay in, because I think UK citizens are better in than out; (if the UK is out of the EU what replacement funding will there be from central government for poorer UK regions)because I fear that if the UK comes out of the EU there will be no “brake” on actions undertaken by the tories – remember we’ve got another 4 years of them yet.