Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, has warned of the dangers of the UK leaving the European Union. Writing in the Daily Telegraph the former Conservative leader said:
“When we joined the EU we were the “sick man” of Europe: today, as a result of our domestic reforms and membership of the European Single Market, we have the best performing economy in Europe”.
Speaking of previous treaties Major added:
“Beyond the positive advantages of membership, we have protection from many aspects of the EU that we dislike: we are not in the Eurozone – because I kept us out of it over 20 years ago; we are not part of Schengen (and thus have control of our borders); and we have opted out of “ever closer union”. We can veto any Treaty that enhances EU powers. We are the only nation within the EU which has managed to secure these concessions”.
Referring to potential trading advantages he noted:
“The ‘leave’ campaign blandly assumes that once they have undermined – if not wrecked – the power of the EU by leaving it, they can simply re-negotiate all the advantages of membership with pliant Europeans eager for our trade. This is self-deception to the point of delusion. Their argument is that the EU needs the UK market more than we need theirs, on the basis that – overall – the EU exports more to the UK than we export to them. This is, at best, disingenuous. More bluntly, it is fantasy. UK exports to Europe are nearly 45 per cent of our total exports. On average – across the EU – the other 27 Member States send only 7% of their total exports to us. In the game of who needs who the most, the answer is clear. Our European partners will not be the demandeur in any negotiations on the Single Market – we will be”.