“Switzerland and Norway survive perfectly well outside the EU”

Be careful what you wish for! Switzerland and Norway are both small countries with specialised ‘niche’ economies: Switzerland with its often-criticised banking system, and Norway with its massive oil reserves.

But their industries have to follow EU rules as that’s their main market. As non-members, they have no say over the adoption of those EU rules. They cannot defend their interests. They have, effectively, lost sovereignty through their isolation — as the Norwegian government itself admits.Evidence

Nor does staying out save money — the Norwegian contribution per capita to the European budget is about the same as that of the UK! For the Norwegians, being non-members, it’s taxation without representation. Evidence


          	

“The European Parliament is a rubber-stamp parliament”

Not true. In fact, the European Parliament is much better than national parliaments at saying ‘no’ to controversial proposals. And of the proposals that it accepts, very few go through without significant amendment. Evidence

In this way, the European Parliament is much more effective than national parliaments such as Westminster, as there’s no compliant government majority to ensure that proposals are whipped through. Just think about it: it’s headline news if MPs ever vote against the government’s wishes!


          	

“The EU forces its will on member countries”

Not true. Firstly, we don’t decide anything at EU level unless all member countries have explicitly agreed by treaty to do so — and even then, each piece of legislation is agreed by national governments. For sensitive matters like tax and foreign affairs, the requirement for this agreement is complete unanimity, and in other areas, there is a very high ‘qualified majority’ threshold. As a former Conservative UK minister admits, “It is very hard to find an EU regulation of significance that has been forced on an unwilling British minister who voted against it”! Evidence


          	

“Most of our laws come from Brussels”

Not true. The independent House of Commons library found that the real proportion is just 13.2% of our laws. And these figures include everything that even mentions the EU, even if it’s just a “passing reference” or a definition, according to the researchers! Evidence


          	

“Europe is run by a sprawling bureaucracy”

Not true. The European Commission has fewer employees than a medium-sized city council in the UK. Evidence