Economic Agenda by Bill Jamieson
True EU cost
MICHAEL FABRICANT’S Bill for a Parliamentary Commission to probe the costs
and benefits of joining the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) gets
its first reading tomorrow.
Well done, that man. Fabricant’s argument is that there should be an
open-minded examination of the pros and cons before we go further down the
road of European political integration and union.
Helping this debate will be a cost-benefit analysis this week of the UK’s EU
membership from the Institute of Directors. The discussion paper, by Graeme
Leach, argues that the aggregate impact of the EU budget, common
agricultural policy, customs union, single market and EU social welfare
model is negative for the UK. His most conservative estimate is that the net
cost of EU membership is about ?15bn a year, while the true current net cost
of membership could be as high as ?50bn.
Tuesday brings a colloquium organised by Politeia on its recent pamphlet
Britain and Europe, Choices for Change, setting out the costs of further
integration and the options for a recalibration of our relationship with the
EU. Speakers include Professor Patrick Minford, Christopher Johnson and
Graham Bishop of Salomon Smith Barney. Details and copies of Choices for
Change are available from Politeia at 22 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H OHR
(tel: 0171 240 5070) at a discount price of ?7.00