Richard Lambert  and John Springford,  British Isolation from Europe as euroskeptics gained considerable force, pound euro taxrebate.org.uk/Flickr

Splendid Isolation?

British euroskeptics claim that EU membership has bound the UK economy by swaths of costly red tape to a bunch of moribund economies with no growth prospects. The facts, however, tell a very different story.

LONDON – Membership of the European Union has shackled Britain’s economy to a corpse. The United Kingdom has been bound by swaths of costly red tape to a bunch of moribund economies with no growth prospects. As a result, UK exporters have been held back from the fast-growing markets of the Commonwealth and the developing world.

That, in a nutshell, is the view of British euroskeptics, and it has gained considerable force in the past few years of Europe’s slow-motion crisis. The facts, however, tell a very different story.

A new study by the Center for European Reform (CER) asks the question: What is membership of the single market actually worth to the UK? The standard answer is that close integration with the rest of Europe brings access to a market of more than 500 million people and injects healthy doses of competition and investment into the British economy, helping to raise productivity.

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