Since 1 January 2021 the European Union has not stood still. It continues to offer new opportunities, funding and benefits to its citizens and businesses that we, in the UK, are now excluded from.
Leaving the EU came at a huge cost to the UK economically, culturally and in terms of our standing in the world, but that’s not the end of our losses. The EU continues to progress without us, offering its twenty-seven member states and their 740 million citizens new opportunities for a better , safer, fairer, more sustainable future:
- Pay Transparency: ensuring that women and men in the EU get equal pay for equal work
- 10 year Strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure their full participation in society, on an equal basis with others
- €102.6 million for the year 2021 to better the environment for businesses, reinforce the healthcare systems, strengthen social and educational systems and overall enhance the resilience of Member States
- Helping EU consumers cut their energy bills and carbon footprint
- New regulation to ensure EU travellers continue to benefit from free roaming for another ten years
- €10 billion to speed up the transition towards a green, climate neutral and digital Europe
- €121 million in environment, nature and climate action projects
- €750 billion member states to help them address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to foster the green and digital transitions and to build resilient and inclusive societies
- €178 million to develop and scale up breakthrough innovations in health, circular economy, advanced manufacturing and other areas
- €4 billion Beating Cancer Plan: A new EU approach to cancer prevention, treatment and care
- €14 billion to support jobs post-pandemic.
You can view the full list here.
And that’s just in the first few months since we left the EU - imagine what we will have missed out on in a year, five years, ten.
Rather than being in a club with twenty-seven others, the UK is now alone and isolated, excluded from the benefits of club membership, and without the scale or resources to replicate those benefits.
The EU continues to focus on its citizens while the UK government is transfixed by ‘sovereignty’, by centralising power and control in the English executive, bypassing the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland executives, ignoring parliament and sniping at the judiciary. Rather than empowering individuals, our incompetent and dishonest government are concentrating power more and more in themselves as government ministers, consulting parliament less and less, and playing fast and loose with the truth in order to achieve their own ends.
On leaving the EU we turned our backs on forty seven years of hard-won citizen’s rights, most of which the UK helped shape. But we have also sacrificed the chance to enjoy all future benefits, rights and freedoms that will be afforded to the 740 million EU citizens, but not us. This ‘opportunity cost’ of Brexit may well turn out to exceed the immediate and direct costs of Brexit, perhaps by orders of magnitude over time. In holding the government to account for the Brexit disaster, it’s only right that they explain not just the direct losses due to Brexit, but also either give us the same benefits that EU citizens now enjoy, or explain why we can’t have them, and let the electorate decide if that is acceptable.
Reproduced with kind permission from Central Bylines