The economics of UK’s EU membership is very finely balanced


Stephen argued that,

Open Europe’s perspective, particularly on the economics of our EU membership, is that it is very finely balanced and there is no reason why the UK could not exist, or even prosper, outside the EU, depending on the policies it puts in place outside and the deal it gets with the EU outside.


He pointed to Open Europe’s Brexit study which shows that the UK GDP could be 1.6% better off outside the EU in the best-case scenario. However, if the UK fails to strike a deal with the EU or reverts into protectionism, the UK GDP could be 2.2% lower in 2030. Stephen also stressed that,

if the UK were outside, it would become more of a niche player and would have to trade on its strengths. That means that on trade agreements, we would be focused on a narrower set of issues than the EU would as a whole, which gives a greater nimbleness and flexibility, perhaps, but you would lose the collective weight. That is the trade-off that the UK would have to judge, and that has to be part of the equation.

More influence over foreign policy in Europe than we might imagine


With regards to foreign policy, Stephen notes that,

Being one of the only two major military powers in Europe probably gives us more influence than we might imagine over foreign policy in Europe. We have to judge the value of that before the electorate decides to leave. That is something we would miss.

For a full transcript of the meeting, please see here.