Britain's global influence would not be harmed by Brexit

25 May 2016

 

 

As we enter the final month of referendum campaigning, the Remain side continue to announce ridiculous assumptions about British foreign policy post-Brexit in a bid to ramp up Project Fear.

 

 

Remainers argue that the European Union is the sole reason that peace in Europe after the Second World War has been possible. They also claim that Britain will be “isolated” from the rest of Europe just because we would have lost our seat in EU institutions like the Council of Ministers. However, those who truly believe in Britain will know that this is far from the truth.

 

 

Firstly, it is NATO, not the European Union, which has maintained peace and stability in Europe since 1945. American and British troops remained in continental Western Europe after the war to protect it from growing Soviet hegemony. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it is NATO, not the European Union, which has responded to new risks to global security through democratic co-operation between its members.

 

 

The biggest threat to British foreign policy in the future stems from a “United States of Europe” with a Common Foreign and Security Policy. We have already witnessed the catastrophe that attempts at uniting European foreign policy have caused in Ukraine, by provoking Putin into invading the former Soviet state through increased European integration in his backyard of Eastern Europe. It is deeply ironic that the Remain campaigners imply Britain is safer in the EU, when it apparently could not prevent Putin from occupying Ukraine.

 

 

Both France and Britain are key members of the UN Security Council. Nevertheless, Britain sacrificed its seat at the World Trade Organisation in 1973 when we surrendered it to the European Community (as the EU was referred to at the time). Now, key players in the EU are intent upon removing Britain and France from the UN Security Council as well, by taking both their seats on an EU-wide basis. It is inevitable that this would give Britain less, not more, influence in the world. Yet, despite this, Remain campaigners are still resorting to scaring people with the suggestion that Britain would have less influence outside the EU.

 

 

How can Remainers claim that Britain would be isolated from the EU if we left on 23rd June? There are over two hundred countries that are not members of the European Union. These include the United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan. Are these countries “isolated”? No. Nonetheless, they do create their own laws and thrive outside of the EU.

 

 

Ironically, Britain is currently isolated from within the European Union, not outside of it. In 1973, two of the thirteen EU Commissioners were British. This has since fallen to 1 in 28. In 1973, we had 17% of the vote in the European Council (made up of member states’ heads-of-government), by 2014 this fell to 8.2%. In 1979, 81 out of 410 MEPs were elected in Britain. And now, we have just 73 out of 751. Even if British MEPs of all political shades united to vote on one issue, we would still be outnumbered by a large margin.

 

 

The statistics get worse. Since 1996, Britain has tried to block 55 new laws in the Council of Ministers - we have been defeated on all 55 occasions. Once countries like Turkey join the EU, we will have even less influence. Turkey would have the second largest population of all member states, thereby significantly reducing our share of MEPs and commissioners, along with our voting power in the councils.

 

 

If you truly believe Britain should have a significant role in tackling the crises currently facing the globe, such as the rise of ISIS/Daesh and the increasing aggression of President Putin - the safer option is to vote to leave, not stay, in the European Union on 23rd June. The only alternative to this is voting to remain, and providing legitimation for a "United States of Europe" that has already proved itself incapable of maintaining peace in the world. There is no reason to believe it will do this any better in the future.

 

 

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Want to respond? Submit an article.

SUPPORT BACKBENCH

We provide a space for reasoned arguments and constructive disagreements.

Help to improve the quality of political debate – support our work today.