Myth-Busting

Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato writes:

Those campaigning for us to leave are presenting a lot of information that is either biased or just plain wrong. So a lot of what we need to do is to subject their claims to scrutiny.

It is untrue that ‘Brussels’ is made up of unelected bureaucrats who impose laws on us. Otherwise how could I be there as an elected politician? (The video at the bottom of this page explains more about how decisions are made in the EU.) And it isn’t true that most of our laws come from Brussels. The independent House of Commons library found that the real proportion is just 13.2% of our laws. And in terms of the size of the bureaucracy, the European Commission has fewer employees than Leeds City Council.

There is a persistent myth (reliably recycled every year by UK newspapers) that the European Court of Auditors has refused to sign off the EU’s accounts, but this is entirely false. In the most recent audit year (2013), the Court gave a clean bill of health to the accounts for the seventh time in a row. This means every euro spent from the EU budget was duly recorded in the books and accounted for. A more detailed account can be found here.

And what about the cost of the EU? The budget for the whole EU is just 1% of GDP, compared to about 49% spent by national governments. That’s just 2% of our public spending each year. Each country pays a contribution to the budget proportional to its wealth, so wealthier countries pay more. The exact amount varies each year, but over the seven-year cycle 2007-2013 our net annual contribution was £3.8 billion, or about £63 per person. The UK’s contribution is actually much lower than other similar sized economies such as Germany and France, partly because we get a special rebate. This contribution must be weighed against the financial benefits of our access to the single market. In 2011, the UK government estimated this to be between £30 billion and £90 billion per year — so a return on investment of between 800% and 2370%.

We don’t have space to challenge all the Euro-myths that are out there but there is a website that is doing just this so please visit: www.Infacts.org