Myth & Paradox of the Single Market: How the Trade Benefits of EU Membership Have
Been Mis-Sold


By: Michael Burrage
March 2016
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9781906837754
204 Pages
$26.50 Paper original


For many, the economic benefits accruing from the UK's membership of the EU are self-evident and unanswerable: access to the European Single Market is of enormous benefit to British exporters and a major attraction for global investors looking to expand into the region. Or so the argument goes.But where is the evidence for this? What do the trade and investment figures actually tell us? When a government minister told parliament that EU members traded twice as much with each other as they would do in the absence of the Single Market, Michael Burrage set out to test the veracity of the assertion. Here he relates his painstaking quest for the facts, studying first the documents on which the minister's claim was based and then, finding scant evidence there, conductinghis own analysis of the data.This timely study looks behind the claims that are frequently made in support of the EU and finds a very different reality.

Examining the research used by not only ministers but big business and many other pro-EU lobbyists to support their stance, Burrage finds that there is no empirical basis for the supposed advantages that the Single Market confers on the British economy. It is a devastating conclusion that should fundamentally shift the terms of the debate surrounding Britain's relationship with the EU.'The main aim of governments has been to ensure that membership of the EU is seen as a prized asset, which the UK must not let slip from its grasp. This has resulted in a mis-selling of the trade benefits of the Single Market comparable in some respects to the mis-selling of payment protection insurance, though on a larger scale, over a longer period, and with far more serious consequences. PPI offered borrowers protection that on closer inspection proved to be illusory, and at disproportionate cost. The evidence shows that the same might well be said of the Single Market.'