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10 freedoms we already have in Boris’ EU “jail”

by Michael Emerson | 08.03.2016

“This is like the jailer has accidentally left the door of the jail open and people can see the sunlit lands beyond.”

Or so Boris Johnson described the possibility of Brexit on the Andrew Marr Show on 6 March (watch from 38:45). Now let us consider 10 important freedoms the UK might want outside Boris’ Brussels jail.

1. We want freedom to veto any stupid foreign policy initiative of the EU. We have it.

2. We want freedom to choose when to go to war. We have it, and are also free to do whatever with Nato, which eurosceptics seem to like.

3. We want freedom from having to join the euro. We have it.

4. We want freedom to veto any tax measure from Brussels. We have it.

5. We want freedom from having Brussels impose the re-location of refugees in the UK. We have it.

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    6. We want the freedom to join, or not to join, any EU scheme that improves security cooperation over terrorism. We have it.

    7. We want freedom to hire Portuguese nurses to make up for shortages in the NHS. We have it.

    8. We want the City of London to be free to hire the best banking talent from the continent. We have it.

    9. We want freedom for our retirees to retire in the sun in Spain, and get free healthcare there. We have it.

    10. We want freedom for our scientific researchers to join European networks of excellence. We have it.

    Michael Emerson is an associate senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies.

    Edited by Luke Lythgoe

    3 Responses to “10 freedoms we already have in Boris’ EU “jail””

    • 1 is not really a freedom, but a power.

      2 is true, but would be outside the EU as well.

      3 is true, was true before the ‘deal’, and would be true outside the EU. Within the EU, while free from having to join the Euro, under the deal we have to acquiesce in measures the Eurozone countries find necessary to make the currency work.

      4 is true for the most part, but would be more true outside the EU.

      5 is true for now, but (a) is already causing tension with other EU member states, hardly a recipe for happy families – and if those other member states want to they could make us pay for this privilege through other parts of the EU relationships, and (b) if refugees naturalise in other EU member states, then they will have an unlimited right to work and reside in the UK.

      6 is true, although much of this would likely be true outside the EU. The UK’s intelligence and security capabilities would still be wanted as a partner, just as those of non-EU member states already are.

      7 is true, except for we don’t have the freedom to stop it happening, either. Outside the EU, both freedoms would be true.

      8 is true, but would be true outside the EU, if we set immigration policy to allow it, which we would be entirely free to do.

      9 is true, and may be impeded by our leaving the EU – but then, EHIC is an EEA-wide scheme and it seems unlikely the Spanish would want to stop British pensions being spent there. So generally, likely to remain true outside the EU.

      10 is true, and would be broadly likely to remain outside the EU, as many of those research networks are not confined to EU member states.

    • ‘Passing by’

      Reading your comments it seems you’re putting the cart before the horse.

      The author isn’t saying we wouldn’t have these freedoms/powers outside the EU, but countering claims by Boris that we need to leave in order to get them.
      Boris; leave and we get certain freedoms.
      Author of this article: we already do have those freedoms, so you need a new argument for us to leave.

      Imagine someone trying to convince another person to leave a nice comfy house and come outside into the street.
      Person A: if you come outside you can see the lovely apple trees, the clouds and the sunset.
      Person B: actually I can see all of those things very well from inside.
      Person A: ah.

      Boris is saying that we would ONLY have these freedoms if we left, while you are broadly pointing out that we would ALSO have these freedoms if we left, which is fine, but still leaves us needing a reason to leave.
      Not saying good arguments for leaving don’t exist, just saying that leaving to get freedoms we already have, isn’t one.