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Analysis

8 good things EU has done since Brexit vote

by Luke Lythgoe | 30.08.2018

Brexiters like to paint a picture of the EU as a sclerotic monolith incapable of change. This is far from the truth. Just look at what the EU has achieved since the referendum in June 2016 – bringing in reforms which we may no longer benefit from if we Brexit.

Global Europe trumps global Britain

Global Europe has been much more of a reality than “Global Britain” since the Brexit vote. The EU has signed new trade deals with Japan and Canada – and started negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. We’ll have to start again with all these – and more than 60 other countries – if we quit.

Fairer migration

The new French president, Emmanuel Macron, has managed to push through EU-wide reforms to the so-called Posted Workers Directive. This means workers from other EU countries must have the same pay and conditions as local workers. This stops unscrupulous employers undercutting the local labour force by paying less to foreigners brought in from elsewhere in the EU – a big concern of working-class voters in the referendum.

Easier digital lives

Living online across the entire 28-country bloc has become much easier in the last couple of years. Mobile phone roaming charges have been abolished. Companies have been banned from “geo-blocking” (refusing to sell to online customers based on their geographical location within the EU). And the digital content on your portable devices – including subscriptions to films, sports events, eBooks, video games and music services – is now accessible across the whole EU, whereas before it was blocked abroad.

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Looking out for the little guy

The EU has been standing up to large multinational companies in a way the UK on its own is unlikely to ever do. It is looking out for UK steelworkers, bringing in anti-dumping measures against unfair Chinese competition and protective measures against Donald Trump’s trade war on steel imports. It has also brought in new rules to tackle aggressive tax avoidance and illegal competition practices in the single market.

Crackdown on criminals

There have been new EU-wide rules making sure money laundering is punished across the bloc and that freezes and confiscations of criminal assets are applied properly.

Safety first

Nervous flyer, sailer or parent? There are now new EU safety rules for: airlines (including rules for drones); passenger ships (simultaneously cutting bureaucracy for ship owners); maximum limits for chemicals in children’s toys; and protecting people from carcinogens in the workplace.

Great British grub

Many UK foodstuffs made it onto the latest list of products getting geographical indicator status, meaning other countries can’t produce cheap copycats with the same name. “London Cure Smoked Salmon”, “West Wales Coracle Caught Salmon”, “Traditional Welsh Caerphilly” and “West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin” are now protected.

Cleaning up the planet

The EU’s environmental protections keep getting stronger. In the last two years there has been a new national cap on emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, new recycling rules aiming to increasing the amount of packaging that gets recycled, a recovery plan for bluefin tuna, and measures to boost cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions and low-carbon investments.

All this is just what the EU has done in the past two years.

Sometimes Brexiters say pro-Europeans can only point out the risks of quitting. That’s not true. There’s also a ton of good stuff the EU has done, is doing and will do – and we’ll benefit from it too if only we don’t leave.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

7 Responses to “8 good things EU has done since Brexit vote”

  • When we leave we can make our own decisions and decide who grants etc.go to and not pay the amount to the EU.We can have things manufactured in Great Britain and trade with who we wish.As regards immigration,it should never ever have got this far..no good at all.A complete shambles. People have paid into the system and some immigrants are getting better treatment I believe.EU have not been peacemakers.

  • Beryl Foster, you really must be stupid to realise we can do all those things currently.
    The EU do not stop things being manufactured in GB, on the contrary.
    Immigrants only get what the UK government decides they should have and they don’t get preference. The shortage of housing and services is due to bad UK government, not the EU. If you’re working class and vote Tory then you’re doubly stupid.

  • To Beryl Foster. In answer to your comments……. Unfortunately the Nasty Party will continue to take all the decisions notably on deepening austerity and abolishing grants (nb disability, housing, in work benefits) as before. The amount contributed to the EU is so astonishingly small that you as a single individual will never notice the difference (neither would this government ever let you get your hands on it) Immigration from the EU is high ( from outside the EU it is higher) but very few EU people come and stay without a job. Unemployment benefit is too low to be attractive. EU rules forbid residence over 6 months without a job….up to individual governments to enforce this. (The UK supports UK employers by not looking too closely at rules). European countries have not fought each other over the last 40 odd years and the EU which does not have an army has not sent troops to Afghanistan. But you are correct……it is a shambles

  • West Wales Coracle Caught Salmon. FFS. Now you’re just taking the mickey. You’re offering someone’s very nice hobby, that should rightly be supported by local purchasers of salmon as a low impact sustainable primary production method, getting Europe-wide appellation controlee status, at God knows what administrative expense. . . . as an argument to justify the existence of the arbitrary authority granting the appellation controlee. Surely local trading standards folk can weed out pesky farmed salmon posing as the proper Coracle Caught good stuff? Ohhhh grow up. x x d

  • Beryl Foster makes some good points, but I would ask that she considers what could have been. Brits could, and many did, get EU grants. “Brussels” is not an external body but a Community which included the U.K. as a major decision maker. The U.K. government could have followed France and Italy and controlled Social Welfare to new immigrants. It’s a shambles, but a shambles of our own making. We will be on our own soon; it will no longer be possible to blame Brussels.

  • Beryl Foster says we can make our own decisions and decide who grants go to. Which grants is she talking about? Once we leave we shall not be getting any grants from the EU. If our own government replaces them (unlikely, but let’s pretend) then where will we find the £350 million a week for the NHS? The EU has given out grants to areas and organisations which need them, many of them in the impoverished regions. These areas of our country get little from the London centred governments wehave had for many years. We get a much fairer deal from the EU.