What's so good about the EU?

27 May 2015

We believe there are lots of reasons the EU is good for the North East, here's five of the main ones.

The European Union/EU is good for the North East because it:

1.Creates jobs and growth

The EU single market allows North East businesses to trade and grow.

Being part of the single market is a real boost for business in our region and helps create growth. If we left the single market growth could be at risk and businesses such as Nissan and Hitachi have said they are in the UK because we are part of the European Union (EU). Currently almost half of our exports go to the EU, which supports an estimated 140,000 jobs.

Being a member of the EU also allows the UK to be a world leader in education. UK universities accessed more than £1 billion of funding in 2013, much of which goes to the sciences. The North East is a centre of science and technical innovation, and thus would be hit hard by the loss of funding, and it would make it more difficult to continue of world-class research and retaining important academics.

Did you know? Up to 160,000 jobs in the region rely on trade with the EU.

2. Invests in our region

The EU invests in major projects across the North East.

The North East has received billions of pounds of investment over the decades from the EU. There are lots of projects that rely on EU funding now such as the Hartlepool Growth Hub, the Teesside Advanced Manufacturing Park, the Consett Business Park, the Vaux site redevelopment in Sunderland, The Core Building at Science Central in Newcastle and the Northumberland Rural Growth Network.

We are a net recipient of EU funds and the North East is entitled to more European funds than any other English region. The European Social Fund alone paid £157 million into the North East from 2007-2013. The European Regional Development Fund guaranteed £255 million between 2007 and 2013.

Did you know? Over the next five years the North East will get £726m in EU funds.

3. Protects our rights

The EU keeps us safe at work and protects our consumer rights.

The EU keeps people safe at work and protects your rights as a consumer. The EU protects paid leave, maternity rights and equal rights for agency workers. The EU has banned excessive credit and debit card surcharges and expensive customer phone lines.

The EU also guarantees that the UK cannot reinstitute the death penalty, as under the Copenhagen Criteria countries which have the death penalty are ineligible for EU membership, thus guaranteeing all British people the right to life. Maternity rights, for example, have also been expanded under the EU, with pregnant workers guaranteed the right to attend ante-natal appointments during working hours on full pay and maternity leave set at 14 weeks minimum.

Did you know? Before EU membership UK workers didn’t have rights to paid holiday.

4. Keeps us safe

The EU helps bring criminals to justice and creates peace and stability.

The European Union has brought peace, stability and freedom to Europe, a continent which was devastated by war twice in the last century. Peace has not come about by accident and it should not be taken for granted. The EU is helping to tackle international threats in a way the UK couldn’t do if it was acting alone. The EU also helps police tackle crime, human trafficking and terrorism which is increasingly international in nature.

On home turf, membership of the EU is an important factor in the continuing stability of Northern Ireland, a region whose ongoing peace affects us all. Northern Ireland, and thus the United Kingdom, has had 17 years of peace, and EU investment in the region makes this easier to maintain.

Did you know? The EU has brought peace and stability to Europe.

5. Improves our environment

The EU leads on tackling climate change and caring for our environment. Environmental issues don’t stop at borders and only by working together can we protect our environment. North East beaches and air quality have improved because of Europe. Environmental protection can also bring jobs to the region through new technology such as carbon capture and storage.

EU regulations have made our air quality the highest it had been in hundreds of years. European emission limits are now applied to all new cars, which cuts tailpipe pollution dramatically. Because of EU legislation designed to reduce car pollution, partially-burned soot emission from exhaust pipes has been reduced by 36% in diesel vehicles, and the toxic gas NO2 has been reduced by 84%.

Did you know? Our beaches have been dramatically cleaned up thanks to Europe.

Do you think the North East needs its own voice in the EU exit negotiations?

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