If on a summer’s night: is UK businesses’ “new deal” the only key to the “best of all worlds”?

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, on the left, and Johannes Hahn, presenting the brochure entitled "The Crystal: a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens", EC Audiovisual Services,  28/02/2014

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, on the left, and Johannes Hahn, presenting the brochure entitled “The Crystal: a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens”, EC Audiovisual Services, 28/02/2014

If you are a loyal reader of the European Sting, or at least a well-informed European citizen, you will certainly know that surveys don’t really bring good news for the Union. Anytime a new survey about the public opinion around the bloc comes out, the European Parliament is shaking a bit. “People are not really interested…”, “EU politicians not popular…” are just a few of the (quite disturbing) outcomes we use in the last few years, but there’s still space in a more “business oriented” side.

The UK is the EU’s restless child this time. A recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) revealed that more than half of British companies want to re-negotiate their relationship with the European Union. Around 60 percent of more than 3,200 businesses surveyed in the BCC’s latest EU Business Barometer believe that transferring specific powers back to Westminster would be positive for the UK economy.

True is that the majority of firms – 59 percent – are against a UK exit from the EU, but on the other hand we have almost half of firms surveyed (46 percent) believing that further integration with the EU would hinder the UK’s economic prospects.

John Longworth, BCC Director General, commented: “These results show that firms believe a renegotiated relationship with the EU, rather than further integration or outright withdrawal, is most likely to deliver economic benefit for the UK”. He also added with no hesitation that “[UK firms] do not want to get caught up in the whirlpool of further integration”, and that only 20% of them think that this would be somehow beneficial.

Well, we see that Mr. Longworth’s opinion is clear and exactly aligned with the poll’s outcome: the best thing for the UK would be remaining in the EU but after a careful re-negotiation of the relationship. This was also reported by many newspapers. “It is our preference to stay in the free trade area and renegotiate our relationship because that would give us the best of all worlds,” said Mr. Longworth. Clear enough.

The BCC’s Director General has made no mystery of his opinion since long time ago (famous was his letter published on the Guardian, in which he already declared that re-negotiating the UK’s position in the union is in the “national interest” – cit.), although numbers – and surverys! – seem now to be strong allies. It is also the general political situation to lay a hand towards those who think that the UK deserves “the best of all worlds”.

Many analysts believe that a lot of turmoil is already perceived due to the 2017 proposed referendum of UK membership of the European Union. Indeed after Prime Minister David Cameron promised an “in/out” referendum on British membership of the European Union in 2017, if the Conservative Party wins an outright majority at the next General Election in 2015, nothing has ever been the same. So everyone should consider this while analyzing the current situation in the UK.

A recent report commissioned by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and reported by the Telegraph, predicted that – following a UK exit – London’s gross domestic product (GDP) would grow from £350bn today to £640bn by 2034 if Britain’s stayed in a reformed EU, compared with £615 bn over the next 20 years if it exited but adopted outward-looking trade policies. However, it warned that maintaining the status quo would see London’s GDP expand to just £495 bn by 2034.So everything seems to endorse the outcome of the latest poll by BCC.

Now I would like to challenge Mr. Longworth and our readers by introducing a sort of opportunity cost though. What if this analysis was considering only Mayor Johnson’s report, and not an extra one? That is UK staying not only in the EU but also being part of the Eurozone. Yes, I know this is some kind of pie in the sky, but please allow me this comment: are we sure that those results consider also the opportunity cost of not staying in a Eurozone that would be probably much more powerful with the UK? Why does the solution need to be always to run away when instead we can sit around the same table, balance our cultural differences, and come to mutually beneficial agreements? Why do British politicians need to act based upon past and anachronistic partisanship feelings of the electorate instead of taking the next step to educate them with political ‘evolution’? 

Mr. Longworth knows perfectly that a further Eurozone integration, with more members and more markets, would leave the UK in an increasingly isolated position if UK does not jump in the train. Indeed he recently declared that “the Eurozone is increasingly becoming the decision-making centre of Europe”. He also added that “if in five or 10 years’ time the Eurozone makes all the big decisions, and the UK is not in the Eurozone but is in the EU, we will have all of the rules and none of the influence”; thus my point is, what if the plan was to have an additional choice in the politics of the island, with a more involved UK, instead of a sort of escape plan? For sure an isolated position of the UK would harm the national interests, but why not considering another way?

After all if it’s true that theories in economics are more than often based on assumptions rather than on facts, it would also be true that unconventional ideas are sometimes less dangerous than not challenging ourselves at all. And I am sure that unconventional ideas have occurred to UK politicians’ minds. What I am not sure though, is whether these leaders are able to behave like ones and challenge the conservative electorate to think otherwise, in a modern, more cooperative manner; for the good of the UK, for the good of Europe.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

State aid: Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on proposed draft Climate, Energy and Environmental State aid Guidelines

Parliament gives green light to EU-Singapore trade and investment protection deals

COVID 19 Vaccine: A new terror or a savior for mankind?

Cyprus President urges collective leadership to address ‘root causes’ of world’s crises

EU Budget 2021 approved: supporting the recovery

Obama turns the G20 summit into warmongering platform

This is how many people are forcibly displaced worldwide

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 9 April

Smart toys: Your child’s best friend or a creepy surveillance tool?

Draghi will not hesitate to zero ECB’s basic interest rate

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

Ukraine: EU report notes continued implementation of the reform agenda though challenges remain

EU: Turkey to shelter Syrian refugees and turn other immigrants back in return of €3 billion

UN working to prevent attacks on civilians in eastern DR Congo

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Cows, coffee and sustainable farming

The world invested almost $2 trillion in energy last year. These 3 charts show where it went

Anti-vaccers: does the empty can rattle the most?

EU consumers will soon be able to defend their rights collectively

Could robot leaders do better than our current politicians?

MWC 2016 LIVE: Industry looks to reduce mobile gender gap

Why education and accountability are important for developing countries?

The metamorphosis of the categorical imperative in medical students

How should cities prepare for self-driving cars? Here’s a roadmap

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

UN chief welcomes Taliban’s temporary truce announcement, encourages all parties to embrace ‘Afghan-owned peace’

Although Greece is struggling to pay salaries and pensions Varoufakis is “optimistic”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Coronavirus Global Response: EIB and Commission pledge additional €4.9 billion

Industry 4.0: Championing Europe’s fourth industrial revolution

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

France: New labour laws for more competitiveness

EU adopts rebalancing measures in reaction to US steel and aluminium tariffs

Employment and Social Developments in Europe: 2018 review confirms positive trends but highlights challenges, in particular linked to automation and digitalisation

The more we learn about Antarctica, the greater the urgency to act on climate change

Dare to be vulnerable, and three other lessons in leadership

Lorenzo Natali Media Prize 2019: winners of EU’s development journalism award unveiled

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

Switzerland to introduce strict restrictions on executive pay

Ahead of State of the Union the European Youth Forum highlights lack of action on youth employment

The Challenger Within – Mental Health In Romania During Lockdown

10 ways COVID-19 could reshape offices

Why salaries could finally be on the way up

Problems Faced by Young Doctors and What We Can Do About Them

How big data can help us fight climate change faster

Hydrogen power is here to stay. How do we convince the public that it’s safe?

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €6 billion to support refugees and local communities in need fully mobilised

Promoting Health in the Brazilian Amazon: one nation but many cultures

Here’s what happened when a charity gave $1,000 each to poor households in Kenya

Will Cameron succeed in keeping UK inside the EU and reverse the present economic downturn?

Armenia should take vigorous measures against entrenched corruption

State aid: Commission approves €1.25 billion German measure to recapitalise TUI

How Britain’s backyard bird feeders are shaping evolution

The EU responds to US challenges by fining Apple with €13 billion

Only international actions can settle the world’s ‘enormous and diverse cross-border challenges’, Qatar tells UN Assembly

Questions & Answers on vaccine negotiations

Brain drain 2017: why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Investment and Financing under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): EU and Chinese stakeholders share their views at European Business Summit 2018

World Malaria Day: 7 things to know about the deadly disease

Systems leadership can change the world – but what exactly is it?

Commission launches open access publishing platform for scientific papers

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s