The Cost of the EU

Those who argue against Britain’s membership of the EU often cite its cost as a major concern.  As noted previously (, the Leave campaign repeatedly claimed that “We [the UK] send the EU £350 million a week” – although this was a gross exaggeration and took no account of the benefits of increased trade.

Cost is certainly an issue, and it is also possible to point at instances of corruption and waste – although measures are being taken to combat this.  Just as with a national tax system (3.2.4), contributions are calculated on the basis of ability to pay.  Richer countries have more to lose economically from strife, so their additional contributions are at least partly justifiable in terms of their greater benefits from stability.

The benefits of EU membership in financial terms almost certainly exceed the costs, but they are impossible to quantify.  Security and economic stability are clearly worth something – and could be worth more if countries tried harder to reap the possible collective benefits.  A more coherent EU foreign policy would enable countries to share costs on embassies and defence, for example.



This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3a book, © PatternsofPower.org, 2020.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/6655a.htm