In the run-up to the referendum on 23 June 2016, we’re looking at how Brexit could affect (positively or negatively) life in the UK and Britain’s relationship with Europe and the world.
Have you already made your mind up which way to vote? Do YOU think Britain should leave the European Union? Let us know what you think in the poll below:
To kick off today’s debate, we had a question sent in from Brian posed to people in favour of leaving: “Do you REALLY think the UK will be able to have influence over Russia, China, the US? REALLY?”
To get a response, we spoke to Christopher Chope, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Christchurch. How much influence did he think the UK would have it it left the EU?
The United Kingdom would have an enormous amount of influence if it left the European Union. The UK is a member of the UN Security Council, the fifth largest economy in the world, a member of the G7, and a leading member of NATO.
Membership of the EU actually diminishes our global influence. For example, quite often when we’re negotiating issues related to Russia we’ve been inhibited due to our membership of the EU. Particularly in relation to Ukraine, where the EU behaved in cack-handed way and provoked Russia [by offering Ukraine an EU Association Agreement].
For another perspective, we also spoke to Dr. Yu Jie (Cherry), China Foresight Project Manager and Dahrendorf Senior Research Associate at the London School of Economics’ foreign policy think-tank, IDEAS. As somebody researching China’s foreign policy and direct investments in Europe, how would she respond to Brian?
I do not think Britain could keep its influence. Through its European Union membership, Britain is a member of one of the most important trade clubs in world. If the UK leaves the EU, I think Chinese investments will transfer to somewhere else. Based on the data I’ve received in the last few years, most of the Chinese companies want to invest in the UK because they see it as an entry-point into the EU Single Market.
How would Brexit affect Britain’s global influence? Does membership of the EU diminish the UK’s international standing? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!