IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Mr Southam ignores the pro-EU movement

07 December, 2018

• STEPHEN Southam ignores the European Union’s “generalised system of preferences” tariff reduction scheme, (Remain­ers are ignoring the shift to hard right throughout Europe, November 30).

“Everything but arms” zero-rates all physical goods except guns and ammunition, to help the poorest countries in the world. Mr Southam ignores the benefits of the euro currency.

It makes it easier to compare prices across borders. A barrier to building a single market is varying currencies. The euro saves exchange costs.

Before the euro, if you started with 1,000 Deutsche Marks and travelled through 17 EU countries, changing all the money in each one, you would be left with fewer than 500 marks on returning home – without buying a single thing.

There is also the psychological benefit of the everyday reminder of the effort of the European project. Visitors may not understand European integration, but they cannot ignore the effect on the money in their pocket.

Mr Southam is mistaken if he thinks EU supporters are blind to problems. Far from it. For example, John McCormick’s textbook, Understanding the European Union, says that eurozone countries have different economic cycles, but don’t have the flexibility they did have, so “in short, the members of the eurozone must rise or fall together”.

Another example? The EU’s multi-annual financial framework runs over seven years, but long-term projects like the Galileo GPS programme run over decades. This means that contracts may have to be renewed part-way through.

Mr Southam ignores the pro-EU movement. Pulse of Europe started in Frankfurt last year. On May 6 last year, Al Jazeera reported that tens of thousands of Poles demonstrated to protect the rule of law in Poland against government interference.

They have been supported in the European Parliament. In November 2017 in Strasbourg, MEP Frank Engel said: “Those Poles we are standing up for, because they have chosen to be part of the European society, and that is why we care.”

PHIL JONES
Member, European
Movement UK

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