The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you not change browser settings, you agree to it. Learn more

I understand

Cookies are a technology which we use to provide you with tailored information on our website. A cookie is a piece of code that is sent to your internet browser and is stored on your system.

Please see below for a list of cookies this website uses:

Cookie name: _utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmz

Purpose: Google Analytics cookies. Google Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. Please see Google's privacy policy for further information. To opt out of these cookies, please visit Google's website.

Cookie name: Sitecore

Purpose: Stores information, such as language and regional preferences, that our content management system (the system we use to update our website) relies on to function.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: ASP.net_session

Purpose: Allows the website to save your session state across different pages. For example, if you have completed a survey, the website will remember that you have done so and will not ask you to complete it again when you view another page on the website.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: website#sc_wede

Purpose: Indicates whether the user's browser supports inline editing of content. This indicates whether our content management system will work for our website administrators in their internet browsers.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: redirected

Purpose: Remembers when the site forwards you from one page to another, so you can return to the first page. For example, go back to the home page after viewing a special 'splash' page.

Function: This is a session cookie, which your browser will destroy when it shuts down. The website needs this cookie to function.

Cookie name: tccookiesprefs

Purpose: Remembers when you respond to the site cookie policy, so you do not see the cookie preferences notice on every page.

Function: If you choose to remember your preference with a temporary cookie, your browser will remove it when you shut it down, otherwise the cookie will be stored for about a year.

Cookie name: _ga

Purpose: Additional Google Analytics cookie. Google Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. Please see Google's privacy policy for further information.

Cookie name: SC_ANALYTICS_GLOBAL_COOKIE, SC_ANALYTICS_SESSION_COOKIE

Purpose: Sitecore Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. When you close your browser, it will delete the 'session' cookie; it will keep the 'global' cookie for about one year.

Facebook cookies

We use Facebook 'Like' buttons to share site feedback. For further information, see Facebook's cookie policy page.

Twitter cookies

We use Twitter 'Tweet' buttons to share site feedback. For further information, see Twitter's privacy statement.

YouTube cookies

We embed videos from our official YouTube channel. YouTube uses cookies to help maintain the integrity of video statistics, prevent fraud and to improve their site experience. If you view a video, YouTube may set cookies on your computer once you click on the video player.

Cookies pop-up

When you close the cookies pop-up box by clicking "OK", a permanent cookie will be set on your machine. This will remember your preference so that the pop-up doesn't display across any pages whenever you visit the website.

Opting out/removing cookies

To opt out of Google Analytics cookies, please visit Google’s website.

You can also control what cookies you accept through your internet browser. For details on how to do this, please visit aboutcookies.org. Please note that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our website.

mailing list
donate now
join now
shop

The benefits of EU membership are self-evident - aren't they?

Roger Helmer MEP

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a doughty euro-realist in the House of Lords, has been trying for some time to get the government to publish a white paper on the benefits of EU membership. The government is refusing, on the grounds that the benefits of Britain's membership of the EU are "Self-Evident", and therefore a white paper would be a waste of time.

Not just Labour, but many EU protagonists - even some Conservatives - insist that these benefits are self-evident. But when pressed, they go strangely shy about telling us what they are.

Fortunately, two well-respected organisations have done analyses of the costs and benefits of EU membership. The Institute of Directors appointed independent accountants Chantrey Vellacott, who came up with a detailed report. Their conclusion? That costs outweighed benefits by a massive £15 to £25 Billion a year. And they said that could double if we joined the euro.

Equally interesting are the conclusions of the highly respected International Trade Commission for the US Congress. There had been a suggestion that Britain might join NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, so the Trade Commission looked the implications of British withdrawal from the EU. Their conclusion? We should be no worse off, and possibly better off, out.

Here we have two highly respected organisations, on either side of the Atlantic, both concluding that British membership of the EU is at best neutral, at worst costing us a lot of money.

Ah, say the europhiles. But 31/2 million UK jobs depend on membership of the EU! This figure comes from NIESR, the National Institute for Economic and Social Research. But the Director of NIESR has denounced the claim that these jobs rely on membership of the EU. They depend on trade with the EU. But there is no credible case that we should do less trade with the Single Market if we were not members of the EU.

We import far more from the EU than the rest of the EU imports from us. So it is inconceivable that they would seek to apply adverse trade terms if we left. In any case, even if we had to pay the EU's common external tariff on all British exports to the EU, that would be less than our current contributions to the EU budget.

Millions of jobs in the USA and South East Asia depend on trade with the Single Market -- but they don't depend on membership of the EU, and still less on joining the euro! And exports into the EU from the USA have grown twice as fast, over the last decade, as exports from Britain to the EU.

Yes, they say, but what about all the wonderful grants we get from the EU? Well of course the money we get back from the EU in grants, and in agricultural support and so on, is far less than we actually pay in. In fact each pound we get in EU funding costs the British economy around £2.60. Not a very good deal. They give us back a little of what was our own to start with. They tell us what to do with it. Then they expect us to be grateful.

The last resort of the europhiles is peace. With all its faults, they say, at least the EU has kept the peace in Europe for nearly sixty years. What nonsense! It was NATO and the transatlantic alliance that kept the peace. It was Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan who faced down the Soviet Union.

The real danger is that the EU's paper army will undermine the transatlantic alliance and leave us less secure, not more.

So am I calling for withdrawal from the EU? No. I'd like to see the kind of Europe that Iain Duncan Smith set out in his Prague speech recently. A Europe of independent, democratic, self-governing states, trading and co-operating together.

If we can realise that vision, well and good. But if not, I'd rather see Britain a free and independent nation, than an off-shore province in the Peoples' Republic of Europe.