By Peter Sain Ley Berry, Treasurer of the European Movement Council of Wales
When you hear the Brexiteers blaming the EU for this and for that one thing that they never seem to acknowledge is that whatever the EU does, we are a full part of its deliberations and decisions.
If the EU isn’t handling the refugee crisis well,for instance, then it is we that aren’t handling the refugee crisis well.
Brexiteers are not big when it comes to offering solutions as to what should be happening. It is easier to blame ‘Brussels’ than to say what you think the British Government should be doing in Brussels.
And of course when it comes to practicalities – for example what exactly might happen at the Irish border after a Brexit, their solution is to wave airily and talk of negotiation. But just imagine Ireland in the EU and Northern Ireland outside. That alone is a recipe fo mayhem.
Actually the British Government is doing a great deal in Brussels that is extremely positive but about this you hear not one squeak from those seeking to detach ourselves from the sea anchor of our Continental partners.
Having been the power behind the Single Market, Britain is seeking to extend that market to digital services which at the moment are still hemmed in with restrictions. The greater part of Britain’s much needed exports are services and completing the digital services market would be of immense value to us.
Lord Hill, the British EU commissioner responsible for financial services is also seeking to build a capital union market so that investors can invest in business on the same terms right across the Continent. Again this would help Britain disproportionately. Again this is something that the Brexiteers discount and would gladly throw away. Besides the notional but unachievable idea of a ‘independent’ Britain, such practical gains that create jobs and income and improve the quality of life count for nothing with them, apparently,
If leaving the EU were such a good idea then why is Germany not leading the way?
Germany pays more money in and gets less out.
With her strong manufacturing base Germany could survive outside the EU with no problem at all. So why isn’t Germany wanting to leave? The Brexiteers can’t answer that except by advancing quite specious reasons which effectively boil down to the fact that we are an island and Germany isn’t.
No, Germany wants to stay in the EU because, like Britain, it derives very considerable advantage from EU membership; in trade, certainly, but also in all sorts of other ways including a greater influence in the world.
What is absolutely certain is that all the other members of the EU want us in, not because they want to do Britain down or exploit us, but because they realise that only together are we safer, stronger and more prosperous.