No, Mr Eurocrat, the only place where Britain is irrelevant is INSIDE the EU
So we've got zero influence, eh? Outside the EU we’d be a second-rate country, would we?
The easy reaction is outrage. How dare José Manuel Barroso, the outgoing head of the Brussels civil service, hector Britain, the nation that, by helping liberate Europe from fascism, made the wretched EU possible in the first place?
But I’d rather take Mr Barroso seriously. Let’s assess the claim that, if it weren’t for the EU, we’d count for little in the world.
Consider, first, the assets that the United Kingdom has.
We are either the seventh or the sixth largest economy on the planet. (Depending on which measure you use, we have either just overtaken, or are just about to overtake, France.)
At a time when the eurozone is stagnant, we are the fastest-growing major economy on Earth. We have — this is a truly amazing statistic — created more jobs over the past four years than the other 27 members of the EU put together. Indeed, on current trends, at some point in the next 30 years, our economy will overtake Germany’s.
While our trade with the EU is in the red and declining, our trade with the rest of the world is in the black and growing.
Nor are our assets purely economic. We have, in London, the world’s greatest city: not just its financial hub but, on most definitions, its cultural hub, too.
Ours is humanity’s most widely spoken language. English has legal status in 37 states, and is used by almost every major international body, from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (a forum to promote free trade among Pacific Rim countries) to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. It’s even used by organisations whose member states don’t speak English, such as the European Free Trade Association.....
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