Should Britain Leave the EU? An Economic Analysis of a Troubled Relationship


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The IEA's latest publication is essential reading for anybody interested in the so-called 'new economy'.

A review of the economic aspects of the UK’s relationship with the EU


This controversial, challenging and timely book carefully reviews the economic aspects of the UK’s relationship with the EU: trade in goods and services, the single market, tax and regulation, public finances, and monetary policy.

The authors argue that the EU has chosen to place political integration before market liberalisation and has followed policies of protection not merely in agriculture, but also in manufacturing trade, while leaving continental countries’ restrictions on trade in services largely intact. The UK, meanwhile, has developed into a service-based and relatively deregulated economy, and a net importer not merely of food but also of manufactured goods. As such, the book finds that the UK is severely damaged by the EU’s current policies, as indeed is the general mass of the people within the rest of the EU.

The book goes on to consider ways in which the political advantages of collaboration within Europe can be maintained while eliminating this damage. It suggests that either:

  • EU policies should radically change towards the adoption of new policies of free trade, competition and deregulation (to the greater benefit of EU citizens generally), or

  • the UK should renegotiate the UK’s terms of membership to avoid the damaging effects of existing EU policies, or

  • the UK should simply leave the EU, continuing with co-operation in chosen fields.

Concluding that the economic costs of UK membership of the EU greatly outweigh the benefits, this thought-provoking book will be of profound interest to policymakers, economists, and informed people generally, not to speak of the broader public vitally concerned about the referendum on the EU draft constitution.

For the full publication, visit Edward Elgar Publishing. 

This paper featured in CityAM.

Published by Edward Elgar Publishing in association with the IEA, 2005.