The European Union
Advantages of UK membership to the European Union cover many fields
from the businesses in the UK to British consumers and students.
Membership benefits UK businesses because it makes trade between
member states quicker and cheaper. This is because the EU is a customs
union/ single market. This means that a business in the UK can export
its goods and services to other EU member states and those goods and
services will not have a tax tariff imposed on them. For example,
America, a non-EU member, imposes a tariff on cars being imported from
the UK. However, Germany, an EU member, does not impose a tariff on
British cars being imported. Like wise the UK does not impose tariffs
on German imports or on imports from any of the member states. This
leads to more competition, more free trade and comparative advantages.
The membership of the UK also benefits consumers because of the
customs union / single market. British consumers will have cheaper
prices, higher quality and more variety of goods from the increased EU
competition. The consumer will also benefit from food and health and
safety standards. For example, all goods that are produced in the
European Union must now carry "best before" markings, price indicators
and a list of ingredients, colourings and additives that they contain.
In addition to this the consumer will not have to worry if a British
product is safer to consume than a French product because all
countries have more or less the same rules, this creates a level
playing field for all manufacturers. Another process called mutual
recognition means that all member states have more or less the same
laws about food, immigration, safety etc. For example food prepared in
England will undergo the same procedure, as in Denmark or that a
tourist from Thailand will face the same rules in Spain as in England.
This makes consumers feel safer and leads to a single market.
The membership of the UK also benefits British students. It allows
students to be educated, be trained or work in member states. More
than 10,000 UK university students a year are taking advantage of the
opportunity to study in another member state and over 830,000 young
people from across the EU have studied, trained or worked in another
Although advantages and benefits of membership are in the paragraph
above, there are also costs of being a member of the world’s largest
trading block. One cost is partly being controlled by the EU. The UK
must abide by laws set by the other states and if it breaks these
rules it faces punishment and possible fines. Another cost is that the
UK does not always achieve what it wants from the European Union. For
example Britain might want to impose a new law on immigration
practices, but some other countries might disagree on Britain’s views.