The positive case for Brexit: a cost-benefit analysis of EU membership

Every serious business decision has to be made with a proper analysis of weighing the costs against the benefits. The Remain side likes to argue the economic benefits of EU membership. So let’s do a proper cost-benefit analysis…


  1. Tariff-free access to the Single Market, cheaper for corporations to trade with any EU market.
  2. Unified trade rules and regulations, simpler for corporations to trade across the EU.
  3. Reduced cost of moving goods – due to the free movement of goods directive, goods can be transported around the nation with only a single document.
  4. Increases flexibility in the movement of people – easier for talented people to find jobs and relocate within the EU, and easier for employers to find talent from throughout the EU.
  5. The UK gets to have direct political influence on the EU from within.


  1. When the EU makes a mistake (which it often does), it affects most of the European continent. For example, when it makes a mistake on monetary policy, multiple nations suffer the consequences.
  2. The bureaucratic size of the EU makes it very cumbersome, so the EU is extremely slow to respond to the needs of international situations such as the Syrian crisis, slow to form trade deals such as with US and China, and even slower to respond to policy mistakes such as the CAP (which is hurting individual farmers) and the CFP (which is damaging aquatic life).
  3. The centralisation of power makes the EU vulnerable to lobbying and corruption, so that well-funded lobbyists are more likely to get their way than smaller interests. For example the CAP affecting smaller farms in Poland.
  4. Protectionist policies reduce competition from outside the EU, increasing the costs of trading with non-EU nations.
  5. Mass migration from poorer countries to richer countries causes (a) societal problems arising due to friction between culturally different people groups, as well as causing (b) poorer countries to lose their hardest-working people and best talent.
  6. Billions in annual Net contributions, without the sovereign choice over how these contributions are spent.
  7. The funding that comes back from the EU into the UK is spent according to EU determinations, not the UK.
  8. Erosion of political accountability, where national governments can use the EU as a scapegoat for popular blame instead of having to take responsibility for their mistakes.
  9. The very different needs of individual EU member states makes it very difficult to create legislation that suits every situation, so we end up with laws that benefit almost nobody and hurts everybody.
  10. EU migrants are entitled to claim welfare benefits from the country they live in rather than from the country they were born from, which attracts benefit migrants from poorer countries into richer countries without actually benefiting either country.
  11. If EU collectively rules against a particular member state’s desires, the member state has no recourse but to accept it, even if it is hugely damaging to the member state, for example with Greece’s economy.
  12. The way the EU has evolved has resulted in laws that are not applied uniformly, with many exceptions for individual member nations, resulting in an unfair system that even the EU does not know how to extricate itself from.

How do the benefits weigh up against the costs?

Have I missed anything?


Author: Hoong-Wai

I am a sinner. I care about people, and truth, and justice. I have an interest in dancing, economics, engineering, philosophy, and science.

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