Look for­ward to a fu­ture out of Europe

The Oban Times - - LETTERS -

Sir, I am as­ton­ished at the down­beat re­sponse from many in­dus­tries about the de­ci­sion to leave the EU. They ap­pear to have been de­lib­er­ately mis­in­formed by the gov­ern­ment – and to have swal­lowed it.

Around three- quar­ters of EU leg­is­la­tion is geared to nudg­ing us ever nearer to the sin­gle Euro­pean state – a coun­try called Europe. That is the main pur­pose of the EU – ‘ever closer union’. The re­main­ing 25 per cent re­lates to trade reg­u­la­tion of the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket, the only part of the EU project in which in­dus­try is in­ter­ested.

Ar­range­ments al­ready ex­ist for nonEU mem­ber coun­tries to be in the sin­gle mar­ket with­out be­ing in the EU po­lit­i­cal project. It is called the EEA – Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area – the ‘com­mon mar­ket’ part of the project.

You can Google the de­tailed plan for con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sin­gle mar­ket. It is called ‘flex­cit’. There are two ver­sions – a 48-page pam­phlet and the full pol­icy which ex­tends to some 420 pages.

One ob­jec­tion to this pol­icy is that the EEA in­volves the ac­cep­tance of the prin­ci­ple of free move­ment of peo­ple. But, un­der Ar­ti­cle 112 of the agree­ment, EEA mem­ber states can uni­lat­er­ally im­pose re­stric­tions when they ex­pe­ri­ence ex­ces­sive im­mi­gra­tion. They do not have to ask per­mis­sion.

An­other de­vel­op­ment which the gov­ern­ment failed to men­tion is that most new busi­ness reg­u­la­tion is now global and comes from bod­ies such as UNECE (United Na­tions Eco­nomic Com­mis­sion for Europe) which, for in­stance, sets the stan­dards for mo­tor ve­hi­cles.

While there is an EU di­rec­tive about this, it was not made in Brus­sels but merely tran­scribed from what UNECE agreed in Geneva.

As an EU mem­ber, Bri­tain has no voice at the real top ta­ble in Geneva. As an in­de­pen­dent coun­try, it will be able to in­flu­ence mat­ters there.

So there is ev­ery rea­son to look for­ward to a pe­riod of greater Bri­tish in­flu­ence in the way world trade is reg­u­lated.

Gor­don J Ste­wart, The School­house, Macken­zie Place, Avoch.

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