Like it or not, the EU Referendum has lately been on telly, radio and basically everybody's mind since the Conservatory election victory earlier this year. That's how Steve Miller, the MD of The Workplace Depot came up with the idea of running an EU Referendum Survey in our office. We will tell you our results, don't worry but first let's go through a couple of important questions that need answering before one should take part in the EU Referendum that's likely to take place in June this year.
What is a Referendum?
A referendum is a vote usually giving a "Yes" or "No" answer to a question regarding a national issue. Whichever side gets more than 50% of all votes, is considered to have won.
What is the European Union?
The European Union is a politico-economic union. There are 28 member states that are located in Europe. The European Union was established shortly after World War Two to encourage economic cooperation. Back then it was thought that countries that trade together would be less likely to go to war against each other. Ever since, the EU has grown and became a single market for the member states, allowing goods and people to move around - as if they were one country. The European Union has its own parliament and currency (Euro €) which is used by the majority of the member states.
What does the EU Referendum REALLY mean?
The EU Referendum technically refers to the possibility of the UK withdrawing from the European Union. Concerns have been raised after last year Nigel Farage's pitch on migrants invading the country and taking Britons' jobs and houses, after the number of economic migrants coming to the UK has been reported as being on the rise. The recent Paris attacks and the Syrian Refugee Crisis have also contributed to the decision of having an EU Referendum.
Could it be the case that the UK is trying to escape the drawbacks the EU (also) has to offer? By withdrawing from the EU, the UK could face a calmer economic and social environment, however it might also have to deal with a "stand alone" status.
Pros and Cons of a "BREXIT"
By far, the greatest uncertainty of the UK leaving EU is associated with the fact that no other country has done it before. Hence, the exact impact it might have on the UK on the long term can't be predicted. However, throughout the time countries have tried to withdraw from the EU. Greece and Greenland to name just a few.
1. Trade Trade is definitely one of the biggest advantages of the EU. Free trade between the member states allows the UK to access a high number of markets and export goods. According to the Office for National Statistics, the EU in 2014 accounted for 44.6% of UK exports of goods and services, and 53.2% of UK imports of goods and services.
Business leaders suggest that the income the UK receives based on EU trades, outweighs the billions of pounds in membership fees the UK would save if it left the EU. Additionally, the UK would love its negotiating power. The Economist suggests that the UK would still be under the strong influence of the EU, but would no longer have a seat at the table to try and influence matters.
Though definitely not as controversial and publicly discussed, the free movement of people across the EU offers work opportunities to UK workers as well. There are just over 4.5 million UK nationals working abroad. Being part of the EU, makes it easier for UK companies to employ workers from EU countries. Arguably, this might leave Britons out of work.
It has been suggested that inward investment would slow down if the UK left EU. On the long term this might affect UK's status as a leading financial center, if not connected to the EU financial environment. On the other hand, it has also been suggested that UK's financial status would not be influenced by leaving the EU.
4. Military Influence
By leaving the EU, Britain could lose some of its military influence. Could be the case that the US would consider Britain a less useful ally. This might put the UK in an outsider position with limited to no access to the single market, no influence and a lot less "friends".
The Workplace Depot EU Referendum Survey
For those of you keen to find out what our survey revealed, you would be pleased to know that:
25% - voted in favour of leaving the EU
50% - voted in favour of staying in the EU
25% - did not know
But now the question remains: What would those who did not know would vote when the real EU Referendum takes place later this year? We believe it is important people learn and understand what being part of the EU implies, in order to make an informed decision when voting.
Posted in In the Community