The “European Union” has developed rapidly since 1952 and the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) during which signatory countries Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Italy, West Germany and The Netherlands pooled their national industrial power together to prevent any future devastating wars as had been seen in 1914-18 and 1939-45. In 1957 the ECSC developed into the European Economic Community (EEC) thanks to the signing of the Treaty of Rome; thus allowing the signatory countries to move closer in an economic union of states. A rotating Presidency and a powerful ‘Council of the European Communities’ was created; an executive ‘Commission of the European Communities’ was formed; and an elected Parliament and European Court followed. In 1973 the community enlarged, with Britain joining under Prime Minister Edward Heath despite strong opposition from Conservatives back in Britain and French President Charles de Gaulle who wanted a “French Europe” not a British one.
Is it time for Britain to withdraw from the European Union, and take back the powers of immigration controls, trade agreements with non-EU states, sovereign law, and all of the other laws that once were held by Westminster but are now in the hands of Eurocrats in the numerous EU institutions? Britain does have its’ own independent currency, opt-outs on Schengen visa agreements and a partially independent banking sector in the City of London, but I would argue that these British held laws are not nearly substantial enough, these laws are just given to the British to appease the ever-growing euroscepticism that is becoming more present as the European Union moves closer together to form a Federal Union in the image of the USA. Britain cannot be a part of this new Federal State. It is time to ‘bring back the British’.
Britain has a history very different to the majority of other EU member states. Britain has a strong Commonwealth to trade with; and should use this time to strengthen political ties with the worldwide Commonwealth community rather than focusing on becoming a “European” country. The banking sector in the City of London is by far the world’s largest and wealthiest, which in a Federal Europe would have to be dissected so as to remove competition from other EU financial reliant cities such as Frankfurt or Luxembourg City. Britain’s immigration and state support structures would be heavily disrupted in a Federal Europe, with all visa requirements for non-EU nationals being decided from Brussels, and any state benefits and free healthcare being decided by the European Commission. Any European Federalism including Britain would destroy the country as we know it.
It is undoubtedly the right time for Britain to withdraw from the European Union. Recent unemployment figures for the EU show that countries who have been hit hard by the global recession and problems with EU employment laws such as Greece and Spain have unemployment figures around 60% of their national populations. Stronger national economies such as Sweden who has recently moved closer to a centralised EU have seen riots because of high youth unemployment. If the UK was to join a seemingly unavoidable Federal Europe, the unemployment levels within the Britain would rise rapidly as it would be necessary for the richer countries to support the poorer countries. Germany is the only country with falling unemployment levels, which surely cannot be justified in a Union which they strongly support and helped to create.
A “British Britain” with total independence from the ever-closer European Union would stand stronger on the world stage. Recently the EU Commission, which is the world’s largest unelected Parliament has started to represent all EU member states under one banner, in the G8 and G20 of the world’s most powerful nations. Britain does still have an independent seat on these panels, however this could be taken away if the EU gets its’ own way. Britain would be stronger under its’ own banner, with Queen Elizabeth as total head of state, Westminster Parliament as a Sovereign elected body, and the Supreme Court as the highest court as it once used to be.