Economic unions, communities, and regional groupings present major social, political, and economic benefits for member countries. Of all major world union, the European Union has successfully managed to survive major political, social, as well as political challenges and effectively created wealth to its constituent countries. Further, other unions such as the United States, a union of various American states, and COMESA have shown the significance and importance of unions in promoting regional development. In light of this, the UK should remain in the European Union in order to enjoy the various economic, social, and political benefits present.
Firstly, the European Union provides the UK with a robust and diversified market for its products. EU is the largest economy in the world, accounting for almost a quarter of the world GDP. In addition, the region has a high population with approximately 500 million individuals who have a GDP per head of about 25,000 euros (European Commission a). Primarily, this population provides a ready market for UK commodities. Moreover, this market has been having more benefits to the UK than costs. For example, the UK exports about 40% of its products to the EU (Milmo). Markedly, this is a significant proportion of the country’s total exports. Consequently, the exit from the EU possesses a risk on the country’s ability to enjoy this advantage of access to the robust EU market.
Importantly, the demographic benefit is one of the salient advantages that the UK has been enjoying by been a member of the EU. In general, the UK has an aging population that is highly dependent on pension schemes and government social benefits. Evidently, this high dependency, coupled with low productivity presents a risk on the country’s competitiveness in manufacturing and service industries (Kaley and Sidhu 117). However, the free movement of goods, services, and human capital in the EU has continuously enabled the UK to have a stable supply of young, knowledgeable and energetic labor. Basically, these individuals are usually from countries near Eastern Europe such as Greece, Turkey, and Belgium. Consequently, this has led to increased productive capacity of the UK. Moreover, since the immigrants are usually young, they are productive and use a small proportion of the NHS and pension (UCL).
On the same accord, membership to the EU enables the UK to avoid various trade barriers that may limit its trade of goods and services to member states. Remarkably, the EU partnership enables for free movement of goods within the union. In effect, this leads to a faster and more efficient trade. For example, in order to ensure ease of communication, the EU member countries fixed the call rates among member countries in 2014 (European Commission b). However, non-EU member countries still face the trade barriers within the region, and by UK defecting, it risks facing huge obstacles in making a sizeable trade with EU countries.
Finally, the emergence of regional blocks in the world will put countries acting alone at a disadvantaged position. In light of this, the UK must ensure that it is safeguarded by been in a trading block such as the EU (Cameron). Major trading blocks that have been established are the BRICS, ASEAN, and ECOWAS. Evidently, when a country stands alone its negotiating power is severely compromised. Consequently, it inevitably has to agree to a compromised position in most economic and political deals.
To sum up, the UK should be strong enough and focus on the need to have regional integration for the overall benefit of the European countries and its citizens. Moreover, it should be wise to foresee the long-term benefits of cooperation in achieving the EU’s and UK’s domestic interests. Given that the country has already decided to defect, it should be prepared to face the various repercussions that this move may have in both its long term and short term economic progress. Alternatively, it should steadily focus on ways of rejoining the union in future.
Cameron, F. The European Union as a Model for Regional Integration. (n.d.). Web. 28th June 2016.
European Commission a. EU Position in World Trade. 2nd October 2014. Web. 28th June 2016.
European Commission b. Digital Single Market: Roaming Tariffs. 17th February 2016. Web. 28th June 2016.
Kaley, M., and Sidhu, K. “Estimating the Future Healthcare Costs of an Aging Population in the UK: Expansion of Morbidity and the Need for Preventative Care.” Journal of Public Health 33.13 (2010): 117. Print.
Milmo, D. How will Brexit affect Britain’s Trade with Europe? 26th June 2016. Web. 28th June 2016.
UCL. Positive Economic Impact of UK Immigration from the European Union: New Evidence. 5th November 2014. Web. 28th June 2016.