Making the case for Brexit

Managing Director | Europa Worldwide Group

For me it is clear that the EU is set on a misguided and damaging course, which is why I will vote for Britain to leave the EU on the 23rd of June.

75% of Europa Worldwide Group's business is the distribution of goods between the UK and Europe.  In fact, it is our stated objective is to become the market leader for distribution between the UK and Europe by 2018.

Leaving the EU, would mean that every shipment between the UK and Europe would require customs clearance.  Therefore, Brexit would undoubtedly make our business a more complex one.

On top of that whilst I do not believe that the UK exiting the EU would materially damage UK – European trade, it is unlikely to help trade in the short term.

Many might think that I would be an advocate for Britain remaining in the EU.  Why on earth would someone whose business very largely revolves around trade between the UK and Europe want Britain to leave the EU?

The simple answer to that, is that two of the most important factors for our business to succeed, are firstly that the UK economy succeeds, and secondly that the European economy succeeds.  I firmly believe that exiting the EU, will help to protect both.

Whilst the ‘remain’ campaign is busily telling us why the UK should fear the uncertainty of exit, I hear nothing from them about the benefits of staying in, or even a genuine belief in the direction of the EU.

We know that it costs the UK a net contribution of £50 million per day to remain, we know that we have to give up control of significant areas of self-governance to remain, we know that we have to adhere to many, many laws that we do not agree with to remain, and we know that we have to give up our immigration controls to remain, so there must be a benefit, right?

I mean, we would not make these sacrifices if there was no benefit, would we?  Well here's the real kicker – there is no material benefit.

Yes, OK customs clearance makes trade easier but in the context of the above, it is broadly irrelevant and yes if you want to emigrate at some point to live in another EU country, then yes, it would be nice not to have go through an administrative process to make that happen.

But we are not really saying, are we, that these are reasons to give up control of the self-governance of our country, and send unending amounts of money to the EU?

It's like people saying the reason to join the Euro is that you won't have to change currency when you go on holiday.  Well try telling that, to the millions of Southern Europeans, who have been thrust into poverty as a consequence of their countries joining the Euro.

So, from a purely selfish UK perspective I believe the significant downsides of membership are not outweighed by these very modest upsides, and it is not even worth mentioning the concessions achieved by David Cameron, that frankly don't add up to a string of beads, in the overall context of this debate.

But from a continental perspective, it is suggested that the exit of the UK would damage their economies, therefore shouldn't we stay in, in order to support them?

The EU political machine is obviously pushing towards the creation of a single European state, regardless of the fact that there is no political mandate, or even popular support for it. For the Euro to succeed it needs, a single government, with centralised taxation and spending policies.

Therefore, they have a very serious problem.  They have created a single currency that cannot work without a single state, but a single state cannot succeed, as it does not have the support of the people of Europe.

So, they are locked in a horrendous Catch-22 position.  Therefore, the current concept is to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the fact that there is no democratic mandate, and to carry on regardless.

The problem is that this will not work.  At some point, the people of Southern Europe will wake up to the fact, that far from the Euro being an economic tonic, it is actually poisonous for their economies and ultimately the people of Northern Europe with get sick of sending money south.

I believe that this harsh reality will lead to the Euro being broken up, and the economic hardships that that will cause.

Therefore, the answer is not for the UK to acquiesce, roll over and go along with this approach of bouncing member states into a single European state.  If the UK votes to leave, this is the strongest message that we can send, to tell the EU, to stop and think again.

We need to show them that our prosperity, far from being dependant on membership of the Euro or the EU, is increased by being free of them.  We need to be a shining example of what is on offer if they stop focusing on centralising power, and start focusing on making their economies more competitive and flexible.

Therefore, as far as I can see my interests as well as Britain's and Europe's are aligned.  I will vote to leave, to protect Britain's interests, and to give the EU the strongest possible message that we can of the need for them to change direction.

Note: Europa Worldwide Group employs around 600 people across 11 sites in the UK plus Hong Kong and is represented in 100 countries.