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Old July 20 2014, 05:36 PM   #1
Ro_Laren
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The U.K. and the European Union

I browsed through an article today where it was stated that U.K. Foreign Secretary Hammond said he would like vote to leave the E.U. This made me wonder: what exactly is the U.K.'s relationship with the E.U. I know that it is a member, but IIRC their relationship with the E.U. isn't the same as other nations. For example, in the UK they still use pounds instead of Euros. When did the U.K. join the E.U. and why? And can a nation just vote to leave the E.U. and it be accepted by the E.U. and other nations?
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Old July 20 2014, 05:57 PM   #2
MacLeod
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

The EU consist of 28 countries of which only 18 belong to the so called Eurozone i.e use the Euro. the UK joined in 1973 though I believe it tried to join earlier but it' wasn't support by De Gaulle

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/d...00/4187714.stm

The UK's relationship aside from not being a member of the eurozone is no different than any other member, as for a member voting to leave sure, if they vote to join they can vote to leave.

Sure the UK is one of the more eurosceptic countries but bear in mind the recent European elections showed an increase in eurosceptisim across the member nations which could indicate something is not quite right in the EU. My own opinion is that the EU leadership hasn't done a very good job of explaining the benefits and is in need of reform.
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Old July 20 2014, 06:09 PM   #3
Roger Wilco
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

The Euro is not necessarily such a big deal (imo), but Britain not being part of Schengen seperates the UK from all other EU countries (other than Ireland) and that does make a noticable difference in certain ways.

Regarding your last question: There's no precedent for a country leaving the EU, but certainly it would be accepted if the UK made that decision; why not, and how could they be stopped?
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Old July 20 2014, 06:25 PM   #4
MacLeod
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

I suspect that whilst some member states of the EU might view the UK as a bit troublesome they would rather not see it leave.
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Old July 20 2014, 06:34 PM   #5
Roger Wilco
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

Of course. But if the UK decided that, especially through a referendum, there would be nothing to do about it.
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Old July 20 2014, 08:07 PM   #6
MacLeod
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

Well it is by no means certain that an In/Out referendum will be put before the British electorate, I guess it all depends on firstly results of the election in May 2015, secondly should the Conservatives be in the majority or have enough votes from other parties will they actually present a Bill before Parliamnet for a referendum.

Politicans tend to promise a lot of things, they don't always deliver on said promises.
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Old Yesterday, 01:46 AM   #7
TheGodBen
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

Ro_Laren wrote: View Post
I know that it is a member, but IIRC their relationship with the E.U. isn't the same as other nations. For example, in the UK they still use pounds instead of Euros.
The EU is not quite as monolithic as some think, and during treaty negotiations countries will occasionally request opt-outs from specific policies. Currently, four countries have special opt-outs: the UK, Ireland, Denmark, and Poland. The UK and Denmark chose to opt-out of the euro when that treaty was drawn up, although some EU countries (such as Sweden) use a loophole to put off adopting the euro indefinitely. So as things stand, the UK is just as much a member of the EU as everyone else, they just tend to complain more.


Ro_Laren wrote: View Post
When did the U.K. join the E.U. and why?
They joined because the EU is a mostly beneficial organisation and being a part of the single European market was worth billions of pounds to the UK's economy. But as the EU has evolved it has become more powerful (with the permission of the governments of the member states, including the UK's) and many people in the UK fear it is eroding their sovereignty. This is exacerbated by the fact that many British people do not consider themselves European due to their island status, which makes the EU appear to be a foreign entity that's telling them what to do. This isn't really true, but the fear of it sells newspapers so much of the media claims that it is.


Roger Wilco wrote: View Post
The Euro is not necessarily such a big deal (imo), but Britain not being part of Schengen seperates the UK from all other EU countries (other than Ireland) and that does make a noticable difference in certain ways.
It's not that big of a deal, what with being on islands. We need to use boats or planes to visit the continent anyway, and they require ID. The visa situation is a bit of a pain for non-Europeans though.
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Old Yesterday, 10:26 AM   #8
MacLeod
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

Isn't that the one of issue is, is that when the UK joined the then EEC is was more of a free trade zone, rather than the more seemingly Political Union it has become today, and anyone born after 1955 or so has never had a real say in the matter is this what we want? Sure the media at times doesn't always paint things in the best light.
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Old Yesterday, 03:16 PM   #9
Jim Gamma
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Roger Wilco wrote: View Post
The Euro is not necessarily such a big deal (imo), but Britain not being part of Schengen seperates the UK from all other EU countries (other than Ireland) and that does make a noticable difference in certain ways.
It's not that big of a deal, what with being on islands. We need to use boats or planes to visit the continent anyway, and they require ID. The visa situation is a bit of a pain for non-Europeans though.
Well, technically, we could use the Channel Tunnel. However, there are reasons that we're not in it.
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Old Yesterday, 05:50 PM   #10
Deckerd
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

Conservative politicians like to pose as Eurosceptics to attract that part of the electorate, secure in the knowledge that UK will never leave the EU because it would be financial suicide.
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Old Yesterday, 09:44 PM   #11
TheGodBen
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Isn't that the one of issue is, is that when the UK joined the then EEC is was more of a free trade zone, rather than the more seemingly Political Union it has become today, and anyone born after 1955 or so has never had a real say in the matter is this what we want?
Kinda. The European project was always intended to have some level of political integration and that was known back when the UK joined back in 1973. But the UK's economy floundered in the 60s and 70s and it was felt that EEC membership would help get the country on the right track. When a vote was held on whether to remain in the EEC in 1975, politicians across the political spectrum effectively lied to the public about the extent of European integration that was planned in order to get a yes vote. So the people may not have signed off on European political union, but the UK government did and has continued to do so with each treaty since then.

The idealistic part of me supports the idea of the British public having an honest referendum debate on the EU once and for all. The practical side of me worries that doing so brings the risk of the reintroduction of tariffs with Ireland's largest trading parter, hurting our economy.


Jim Gamma wrote: View Post
It's not often that you find an academic article written in comic sans. Also, that article appears to be pro-Schengen, dismissing the arguments made against the UK joining in the final paragraph.
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Old Yesterday, 10:31 PM   #12
Otto Harkaman
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

I see a lot of comments on the Daily Telegraph complaining about the problems of immigration with the porous borders of some EU states allowing them to enter the UK.
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Old Yesterday, 10:34 PM   #13
MacLeod
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Re: The U.K. and the European Union

Of course it should be pointed out that previous treaties have been rejected when the eletorate in certain countries have had a vote on them. Such as the Constiutional treaty which was rejected by French and Dutch voters and had the UK had one as promised by the then PM Tony Blair it would likely have been rejected. Planned referendums in Ireland, Denmark and Portugal did also not go ahead.

Irish voters have also rejected EU treaties in the past only to be asked to have a second referendum a few months later, the cynic in me says they would keep being asked until they returned the desired result.
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