One thing that was a key campaign point during the general election was the question of The United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union. Now must people down my local haven’t got a clue what the EU is for and don’t have a clue what the EU does beyond straightening bananas. So here is a little bit of info that you can mull over before making a decision on referendum day.
- The European Union is a socio-economic/ political union of 28 member states
- The EU operates through a number of institutions and through intergovernmental decision making in order to form EU policy.
- The institutions of the EU include the European commission, the European Parliament and the European Council, along with the Court of Justice of the European Union, The Council of the European Union and the European Central Bank
- The EU operates a system of four freedoms, which mean the free movement of goods, services, money and European citizens between member states
- EU policies seek to enact legislation in criminal justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development
- The EU has a combined GDP of £12.5 trillion and is the biggest economy in the world.
Now that’s all lovely talking about GDP and movement of capital but what has the EU ever done for the bloke (or the bird) in the street. Well:
- Easy travel, no longer do I have to fanny about in customs or worry if I’ve got the right currency because 19 European countries all take euro’s. On top of that if I were to get sick with some foreign illness, I wouldn’t have to worry about a hefty hospital bill like I would if I were in the states.
- Food labelling, thanks to being in the EU I now know exactly what is in my food, and then its up to me to make the decision about eating it.
- Paid leave from work. Because of the EU working time directive every British worker is entitled to 4 weeks paid holiday and 11 hours rest in every 24 hours.
- Equal pay between men and women all came from European legislation
- A minimum wage, whilst Tony Blaire and his descendents will claim that they introduced the minimum wage, which is nominally true, it in fact stemmed from a European directive .
and on top of all that the EU also pumps millions of pounds into depressed areas in the UK , without which trying to get public funding for anything in the South Wales Valleys of the North of England would be next to impossible.