[Teacher's comment: This is a well-constructed and well-argued paper. I would have liked to see references to sources other than newspapers. Otherwise, it is very good. I have colour-coded the first paragraph to show the background material (green), the thesis statement (yellow) and the three supporting arguments (orange)]
Why the United Kingdom Needs to Remain as a European Nation State
Following the recent European Union Elections, there has been great debate over whether or not the United Kingdom should remain as a member state within the EU. Of course, this debate has circulated in the nation for a long time, even before the elections, but it has recently become a major subject of discussion, especially due to the results of the elections, and also due to the current UK Prime Minister David Cameron's promise to hold a referendum concerning the UK's membership in the EU by 2017. Many argue that it is important for the UK to leave the EU in order for the nation to become more powerful and pursue its own national interests. This paper however will argue that it is crucial that the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union for three reasons. The first is that the economic impact of being a member of the EU (mainly the benefits the UK receives from the Single Market) is great and therefore leaving the EU will ultimately damage the UK. Secondly, by being a member state some social benefits (such as workplace rights) are ensured, and therefore losing status as a member state may put an end to some of these benefits. Lastly, it is important for the UK to remain a member state in order to maintain a global influence within Europe and in order for the UK to compete with the world (including nations such as the United States, China, and Japan). By taking a look at these three reasons, not only do the benefits of being in the EU become obvious; we can also see the consequences of the UK being out of the EU.
First of all, being a part of the European Union means that the United Kingdom benefits from being a participant member of the EU Single Market (Dixon). Being able to use the Single Market gives the UK access to all the markets in countries within Europe, even ones who are not member states of the EU, but is still a participant in the Single Market, such as Norway (Tindale). This single market is responsible for a third of the UK's trade surplus in the financial services sector, which amounts to 55 billion pounds (Cummings). The Confederation of British Industry also stated that the economic benefits from the European Single Market amount to 3,000 pounds a year per family (Tindale). Moreover, according to a recent research conducted by TheCityUK, 84% of financial industry leaders want the UK to retain its membership in the EU in order to ensure that the UK remains economically and financially competitive. It is possible that the UK could leave the EU but remain a part of the Single Market, like Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey (Dixon). However, this means that the UK would have to follow the EU's single market rules without having influence over any regulation decisions made by them. In addition, the UK would still have to pay for the EU budget in order to remain a part of the Single Market (Tindale). Finally, according to The European, the Trade Union Congress states that leaving the EU would damage the UK's employment rate and investments (Tindale).
The second reason why the UK should remain a member is due to the improvements the EU has made to the UK's social benefits. According to the British Trades Union Congress, this is one of the strongest arguments for the UK to remain in the EU (Tindale). Social benefits include workplace rights, which, according to The Guardian, the EU has great influence over. To mention a few, these social benefits include minimum paid leave (28 days a year), improvements in pregnancy and maternity leave rights, and employment laws (such as anti-discrimination rules, working time, and equal pay) (Landau). For a more specific case, The Guardian article on EU influence in the UK's workplace rights states that in 2009, the European court of human rights passed a rule that stated: “workers who are sick during their holiday period can claim back their time”. This rule came into force in the UK in 2012, and has been enforced since then (Landau). Giving up EU membership would mean that there is a possibility that the UK may change or even dismiss these workplace rights.
The third reason the UK should retain its membership in the EU is so that the UK can remain as a competing global power. Currently, when the UK negotiate trade with large powers such as the United States, China, or Japan, it is backed by the EU, the world's largest “trade bloc”, which is responsible for almost 20% of the world's GDP (Dixon). If the UK made negotiations as one nation, the situation and the balance of power would be different. The Independent states that the US's economy is seven times as large as the UK, China’s is about five times, and Japan’s is twice the UK's size. Negotiating trade with such nations without the power of the large EU market would be, to say the least, difficult. The benefits of staying in the EU and using its influence to negotiate and open new markets weigh better than doing so as a single nation. In order for the UK to compete in an increasingly globalizing economy, it is crucial for the UK to stay in the EU.
These three arguments as to why the UK should remain a member state of the EU are only some of numerous beneficial reasons. It is true that the EU is not perfect; there are sectors in which they must improve, and this one of the main reasons why the UK Prime Minister wishes to hold a referendum in the future. As the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) director general John Cridland has stated, “There must be a greater sense of urgency to boost the Single Market, sign trade deals, and make sure the EU works for all Member States” (Sawer). Reform needs to be made, yes, but the UK should lead that reform as one of the powerful nations within the EU, instead of simply abandoning it. The UK's economic interests lie with the EU, in the market, and the the benefits that the nations received from them in return should not be ignored. President Obama has also recently stated that it is “hard for me to imagine that it would be advantageous for Great Britain to be excluded from political decisions" (Norman). It is important for the UK to be anactive participant as a part of this increasingly globalizing world, and that can certainly not be done by quitting the European Union.
Cummings, Chris. "Britain should stay in the EU, and reform it." The Telegraph,
May 17, 2014. Web.
Dixon, Hugo. "The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU ." The
Independent, March 25, 2014. Web.
Landau, Philip. "Europe's legacy in UK workplaces is not to be sniffed at." The
Guardian, January 24, 2013.
Norman, Laurence. "Obama Says U.K. Should Stay in EU." The Wall Street
Journal, June 5, 2014.
Sawer, Patrick. "Cameron 'warned Merkel over Britain quitting' European
Union." The Telegraph, June 01, 2014.
Tindale, Stephen. "Why Britain must stay in the EU." The European, March 15,