UK Membership of the EU – Putting into Perspective

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ICAS paper focuses on the key issues of the UK’s membership of the EU ahead of the referendum on 23 June 2016.

ICAS is keen to build on its earlier contributions to the UK’s membership of the EU debate. The paper ‘UK Membership of the EU – Putting into Perspective’ provides a high level but objective summary of some of the key issues to consider.

28 April 2016

UK Membership of the EU –
Putting into Perspective

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Key Points:

  • ICAS is not taking a formal position on whether the UK should leave, or remain in, the EU.  That is a matter for our individual members and the electorate generally.
  • Whilst the paper seeks to be objective and assess a range of facts, more subjective issues such as perceptions of the impact of immigration, fairness, cultural differences and national interests, are likely to play a big part in how the UK electorate votes.  The safety and assurance of the status quo will in voters’ minds be balanced against the wish for the UK to take control of its own destiny.
  • The EU is undoubtedly a key market for the UK, with a number of jobs dependent on this trade relationship.  However, it is not clear how that trading relationship would be affected by the UK departing from the EU – presumably EU consumers would still wish to buy UK goods and new trade agreements would in all likelihood ultimately be negotiated.
  • There are a number of uncertainties as to how co-operative the EU might be in negotiating the UK’s departure from the EU.  Might the EU Institutions and member states make the UK’s exit process as difficult as possible to seek the best deal for the rest of the EU and possibly deter other member states from leaving? Or, might they recognise the need to maintain a good relationship and conduct such negotiations in an amicable fashion?
  • The UK’s ability to follow radically different policies and practices if it was outside the EU may be limited, given the likely desire to continue to be a key player in European and international markets.

ICAS has also published: What would the impact be if Britain withdrew from the EU?


  • Political landscape

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