EUROPE: We can run own affairs

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Your correspondent (News Guardian, April 28) has a very one-sided view of the EU.

He ignores the core issue that the bulk of our laws are made by bodies which we do not control and cannot get rid of at elections. Such rules cover huge issues like trade policy to small matters like the size of containers for olive oil.

The MEPs can’t initiate legislation: it comes from the unelected commission. We have very little influence, being just one voice out of 28. On 72 occasions we have opposed measures, and on 72 occasions we have been defeated.

The cost of our membership of the EU is billions every year. The grants we get back amount to barely half of what we pay in, and even then only after a lengthy, costly application process. We are funding roads in Portugal, bridges in Greece and a youth engagement project in South America, when we need money here to mend pavements and provide healthcare. Outside the EU we could continue with the same projects and support agriculture, and we would have far more cash to do so.

Our security is put at risk by the EU. Everybody holding an EU passport is entitled to come here, including thousands of migrants pouring into southern Europe. We are having to turn away Commonwealth citizens, no matter how well qualified and useful to our economy, because we cannot cope with the huge numbers arriving from the EU.

As a trading nation, we have always looked worldwide, and that is what brings jobs. Now our trading relationships are governed by the EU. It has failed to make trade deals with growing nations such as India. We could do better ourselves. The lack of our own trade deals is also keeping food prices high. Lamb from New Zealand costs more here than it does in America because of EU tariffs.

Meanwhile, Europe is stagnating. It’s share of world trade is declining. Unemployment is high. The Euro has been a disaster for economies. Some of those who say that Britain should stay in the EU wanted us to join the Euro.

Peace in Europe is due to NATO, to which we will continue to belong. Our intelligence gathering comes largely from our links with the US, Canada and Australia.

I believe the greatest risk to our future democracy, prosperity and security is staying in the EU. Remaining will cost us more and we will see ever greater political union.

As the fifth largest economy in the world, we are well able to run our own affairs in the interests of the British people.

Ian Wallace

Whitley Bay