Saturday, 25 October 2014
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Last week's poll: in or out of the EU?

The strong results from Eurosceptic parties across Europe in last week’s European Parliament elections has put the future of the EU in doubt. What should the UK’s relationship with the EU be?

As expected, we received a very strong response to this poll, with over 950 readers registering their opinion. The largest single group of respondents, 39 per cent, supported the status quo of remaining within the EU to protect British industry, but it’s probably more instructive to note that a clear majority, 56 per cent, voted for options reflecting a change in the UK’s relationship with the EU. A third of the total called for a renegotiation of the terms of membership, while 23 per cent wanted a complete pull-out.

EU Chart

Please let us know what you think of these results.


Readers' comments (56)

  • Why does the EU (especially Germany) dictate so much to the UK instead of the other way round.
    There are so many employers in the UK just using cheap labour from the EU. Exploitation springs to mind.
    Our Government is not really interested in improving the living standards of the ordinary working man (woman)

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  • Politically: There has now been peace between the major Euoropean powers for seventy years. This is undoubtedly due to the collaboration afforded by the EU. Break-up the EU and prepare for WW3!
    Economically: Britain's tangible exports are utterly dependent on EU membership. Foreign owned manufacturing companies (and that's most of them these days) will transfer production to Eastern Europe.
    It's ludicrous to consider Switzerland or Norway as models, they have completely different economies to the UK.

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  • IN ... people bang on about how much the EU dictates to us ... but are often hard pushed to give any solid examples.

    The EU also provides a great deal of well educated workers to the British workforce, people who wish to work hard, integrate and improve themselves rather than sit on the benefits gravy train ... I say stay in and work WITH the EU to make a level playing field for a common European workforce.

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  • Definitely IN, we are geographically part of Europe, and have spent far too long trailing around behind the US.

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  • I'd like to see an element of re-negotiation of terms but pulling out altogether wouldn't be my preferred option. I work in the automotive industry and sometimes attend meetings to discuss proposed legislation in Brussels. At present, I get a say in these regulations. If we pulled out, I'd be (at best) an observer. I think it would be naive to imagine we'd we able to ditch European regulations in many manufacturing industries and "do our own thing" - we'd still have to comply but we won't get any say in their content.

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  • We need a referendum so that the people decide rather than having the political class constantly tell us what they think is best for us. Whatever the outcome, we then stick to it. I would vote to leave the EU. Why? I own and run a manufacturing company (scientific instruments) based in the UK. We employ 15 people. We export throughout the world including USA, Canada, Far East, Australia, New Zealand, and many EU countries. I can say without any hesitation whatsoever that the most difficult place to do business is in the EU due to the ridiculous level of red tape spewing out of Brussels. The European Parliament is undemocratic, inefficient, corrupt and massively expensive to run. It simply cannot continue to run the way it has done for the last 20 years or more but unfortunately I don't see the current EU political regime having any appetite for change. So in my opinion we must leave.

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  • OUT! What the hell has WW3 or trade got to do with being a part of the "Federal States of Europe"? We should be able to trade with our European neighbours - fine - but ought also to be able to trade with other parts of the world without their "permission"! We really do have short memories when we so quickly forget India, Australia, New Zealand etc. We have far more in common with these countries and yet migration from outside the EU is tightly restricted, while free movement from within the EU is the order of the day! Why? Bonkers! And don't get me going about the corruption that exists within the EU - think of the expenses scandal within Westminster and multiply that by 10!

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  • IN! The irritations are minor compared to the advantages. We will have no guarantee that all of our current exports to the EU will continue. If they do it will be on their terms, their specifications. At least we get a chance to say our opinion. We will have no influence on anything in Europe. UKIP claimed that it would be easy to negotiate a "trade only" agreement. What evidence for this? Will car manufacturing remain here when they have to face a tariff?
    Pulling out of the EU is economic suicide and worse running away when we don't get our own way.
    Ironically, I have heard the same gripes in Germany and France. Why don't we get together and solve the "problems" of Brussels.
    As for those elected to the European parliament saying that they will destroy it from the inside, the truth is that they will achieve nothing. Our local MEP, who has an impeccable record of attendance and has negotiated millions of pounds of aid for local industries, lost his seat. A mockery of democracy.

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  • Like many others, I voted in 1973 to join a Common Market. This necessarily required is some commonisation of standards to create a level playing field, but we did not vote for a political and economic union, which turned out to be the hidden agenda of the European Politbureau. Now that the implications of this agenda have become clear, people don't like what they see. The European Commission is trying to make Europe into one homogenous country, where all business is controlled by Brussels.So the UK is not allowed to negotiate its own trade agreements with even the Commonwealth countries.


    The issue of cheap labour is interesting. Before the EU we used to employ Commonwealth citizens (West Indians and Asians) to do the menial low paid jobs. Now we employ Eastern Europeans. I live in East Anglia and have talked to employers who say that, without Eastern European labour to work in the fields and plant nurseries (a large part of the local economy), they would simply go bust because they cannot get British workers to do the same jobs. Is that exploitation? No it is market economics. If they had to pay more they would be uncompetitive against Eastern European products, but that assumes they could get the labour - they get hardly any applications from indigenous British workers, and the few that do apply, including those sent by Job Centres, don't last a week.

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  • In! The Right Wing movement seems intent upon myopic nationalism and the destruction of something (the EU) that has as yet unrealised potential for the member countries.

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  • OUT - unless there is major reform (which there won't be despite what we may be led to believe). Because the EU is essentially un-democratic, the EU parliament having little control over the EU. The EU also suffers from chronic corruption and incompetence, they have for example never had their accounts signed off because they cannot meet anything like the required reporting standards.

    The only argument as far as the UK is concerned is Trade, we are not talking about an OUT of the EU leading to a complete end of trade with the EU. In fact the EU exports more to us than visa versa so they would be a continuing desire for both sides to maintain a trading relationship. However I think we would be in a better position to agree trade arrangements unilaterly outside the EU. Therefore on balance trade will improve outside the EU (and outside signficant external trade barriers).

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  • Isn't there a cycle at work here... the tradition of all (western) states? After a war, everyone says 'never again, let's work together'... then there are treaties, union, collaboration - until the internal strain of this becomes too much; immigration, self-interest and corruption prompt division, disputes and eventually war.... and so the cycle begins again. The only major civilisation NOT to have indulged in this cycle? China! Perhaps we should think a bit more about why this should be, rather than jumping to easy answers.

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  • In - no doubt. People who follow the populist anti EU movement of the likes of UKIP don't know what they are talking about. Leave and a lot of industry, particularly the automotive industry from the likes of Japan will leave with it. Trade with the world's largest economic block has to be top of the agenda when it comes talking about the EU.

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  • In for me. If the UK leaves the EU, they will still have to comply with all EU regulation in order to trade with EU countries. It is an absolute myth that the UK can just trade more with all the old Commonwealth countries if it so chooses to. Why is it not doing that already? The answer is, it is doing it but these countries are not stupid why should they trade exclusively with the UK - the old Commonwealth bully if they can just trade with anybody they choose to in the whole wide world. The truth is that the EU is the largest economic trading block in the world and anybody ignores them at their peril.

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  • In. I believe the whole issue has been clouded by the migration problems that appear to exist and are causing paranoia amongst a number of folk who appear to have no real interest financially or otherwise in the E.U.
    Breaking away from the EU will not help our import /export business in any way as we will not be able to have any say in it.
    As for the rest of the work "out "will not improve things there as we will appear as a little island all on our own …again!
    We don't have an empire anymore and probably should not have had one in the first place but we are still able to trade with countries outside the E.U.
    Some companies I agree struggle to exist in all the paperwork and rules but these can be made simpler and the rest of the world is hardly free of this.
    As someone who has spent most of my working life internationally I can see it from both sides.
    let’s stay “in” but by all means re negotiate some of the terms and conditions, by last week’s results it looks like we will have the support of other members as well.

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  • We should have nothing to do with an unelected commission and a regime that has been unable to balance its budget for ~ 18 years +. There are benefits to EU membership as stated in other comments. We should cherry pick these and negotiate a 'lower tier' membership which minimises exposure to budget interaction but maximises cooperation on trade, security and technical issues.

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  • Ask yourself this:-
    Would you invest in, or work with, an organisation that has not had it's accounts audited satisfactorily for 12 years.

    Out, Out Out I say.

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  • "I have now decided that I didn't like the last referendum so I want another - but this time I'll stick to it, or until fed up with that as well".
    Very churlish, but it seems that so is a lot of the rhetoric concerning this topic. Extreme comments verging on accusations of large scale bribery and corruption do not justify an opinion. Should we perhaps be more honest in our own understanding of our country's status?

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  • This is a pointless question, since everything depends on the terms negotiated between the UK and the EU, most of all, the continuation (or not) of free trade

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  • Then you'd go for the first option.

  • Out.
    While this would cause significant pain, I think the EU is just about at the point of collapse. The level of "protest votes" throughout the community shows the amount of dissatisfaction that exists within Europe for the Brussels Government. We should only stay in if the "Brussels system" of corruption and red tape is totally revised, and the burden of legislation dramatically reduced. And we should only stay in if proper audited accounts are produced. Any future government should have to produce decent accounts or be summarily dismissed.

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