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What if Britain hadn't joined the eu?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which launched what was eventually to become the European Union. Perhaps it may be timely to ask what Britain would be like today if, all those decades ago, our then-political leaders had never taken us into it in the first place.

If we had never entered the 'Common Market' back in 1973, would we now, as the Europhiles like to tell us, be just an impoverished little island standing sadly alone on the edge of Europe, gazing in envy at the success of the great project we were so foolish not to join? In retrospection, we can now see that, had we remained outside the European project, as it has become increasingly sunk in economic gloom, we could have remained a natural part of what has become the most dynamic sector of the global economy.

Switching the main focus of our trade away from the English-speaking world to Europe, has turned out to be a very one-sided deal indeed. In the past 30 years, so much more do our European partners sell to us than we sell to them that we have run up a deficit on our dealings with the EU, amounting to £300 billion.

The proof of how well we might have survived outside the EU is that, even today, both Norway and Switzerland, two of the richest countries in Europe, export a higher percentage of their products to the EU than we do, without having had to join it.

When we look at how much else we have lost, we can see just how different Britain might look today if we had never joined.

If we had never joined:

- we would still have the right to decide our own immigration policy and who should have the right to settle and work in the United Kingdom;

- we might still have the most efficient and prosperous agriculture in Europe, as we did before we had to submit to the absurd rules of a Common Agricultural Policy drawn up primarily to serve the interests of France;

- we might still have the most successful fishing industry in Europe, as we did before we had to hand over our fishing waters, once the richest and most efficiently managed in the world, to a Common Fisheries Policy;

- we would still have retained the right to choose our own weights and measures; it would not have become a criminal offence to sell a pound of bananas;

- we would still be able to decide whom we trade with around the world, on our own terms;

- we would still be able to decide for ourselves on those huge areas of foreign policy which are now dictated on an EU-wide basis.

But perhaps the greatest prize we might have retained if we had stayed out is that we might have avoided the demoralising effect membership of this vast, unstable organisation has had on our democracy and the whole way we are governed.

Based on What if Britain hadn’t joined the EU?

by Christopher Booker

Daily Mail, 6th January 2007


Б) Перегляньте текст “The European Union” (с. 91 - 92). Напишіть невеличке есе (на 200-250 слів) про переваги і недоліки Європейського Союзу.