2016 Southeastern United States Gasoline Shortage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2016 Southeastern United States Gasoline Shortage
ValeroPump GasShortage Sep20 16.jpg

Vehicles, part of a 20+ line, approach a Valero Fueling Station in Raleigh, NC.
Image result for southeast gas shortage
Date Sep. 12, 2016 – Ongoing
Also known as 2016 Southeast Gas Shortage

The 2016 Southeastern United States Gasoline Shortage is an ongoing phenomenon caused by the 2016 Colonial Pipeline Leak and the resultingpanic buying in which many gas stations across six states have entirely run out of gasoline fuel, causing price hikes, halts of services, and several declarations of states of emergency.[1]

On Monday, September 12, 2016, a leak occurred in Shelby County, Alabama, spilling an estimated 350,000 US gallons of summer-grade gasoline, requiring a partial shutdown of the pipeline, and causing gas shortages in much of theSoutheastern United States. Six states are affected (Alabama, Georgia,Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia), with Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia declaring states of emergency. These declarations have eliminated certain size and weight restrictions on vehicles carrying gasoline, and the hours which they are allowed to deliver.[2]

Many gas stations in the affected regions have entirely run out of gas. Panic buying has greatly contributed to this.[3]


The Colonial Pipeline leak in Shelby County, Alabama was first detected on September 9.[4] On September 13, Georgia governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency. On September 15, Alabama govenor Robert J. Bentley declared a state of emergency.[5][6] The pipeline was shut down on September 16,[7] and federal regulators began investigating the cause of the leak.[8] North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, Tennessee govenor Bill Haslam and South Carolina governorNikki Haley all declared states of emergency, allowing fuel tankers to work longer hours to maintain the availability of gasoline.[9] By September 17, the affected regions began experiencing gas shortages. Colonial has announced the construction of a bypass pipeline.[10]

After Brexite are there any future enlargement of the EU

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The future enlargement of the European Union is theoretically open to any European country which is democratic, operates a free market and is willing and able to implement all previous European Union lawPast enlargement has brought membership from six to twenty-eight members since the foundation of the European Union (EU) as the European Economic Community by the Inner Six in 1958. The accession criteria are included in the Copenhagen criteria, agreed in 1993, and the Treaty of Maastricht (Article 49). Whether a country is European or not is subject to political assessment by the EU institutions.

So what next after brexite there what I think

The Scott and the Irish will hold their own referendum to separate them self from Britain so they can be a part of the Eu this will happen before any other Union members separate.


The barbarian of the North will leave The next nation to succeed are the Scandinavian country Sweden begin the first one.

The main land will stay generally the Eu will reconfigure and try to get turkey to join the union to replace Britain and a few other

There are five recognised candidates for membership:Turkey (applied in 1987), Macedonia (applied in 2004),Montenegro (applied in 2008), Albania (applied in 2009) and Serbia (applied in 2009). All candidate countries except Albania and Macedonia have started accession negotiations.

Russia will try to get some of the Eu nation to join the eurasion Union plus non Eu nation.

According to an Eastern Partnership strategy, the EU is unlikely to invite any more of its post-Soviet neighbours to join the bloc before 2020. However, in 2014 the EU signed Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, and the European Parliament passed a resolution recognising the “European perspective” of all three post-Soviet countries.

The barbarian of the, South the Muslim will blend into the Eu by turkey joining

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo*, whose independence is not recognised by five EU member states, are recognised as potential candidates for membership by the EU. Bosnia-Herzegovina has formally submitted an application for membership.

Kosovo has a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, which generally precedes the lodging of membership application.


The three major western European countries which are not EU members, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, have all submitted membership applications in the past, but subsequently froze them


Current agenda

Map of the EU potential candidate states in the Balkans, with the date of the latest step in the process.

The present enlargement agenda of the European Union regards Turkey and the Western Balkans. Turkey has a long-standing application with the EU, but their negotiations are expected to take until at least 2023. As for the Western Balkan states, the EU had pledged to include them after their civil wars: in fact, two states have entered, four are candidates and the others have pre-accession agreements.

There are however other states in Europe which either seek membership or could potentially apply if their present foreign policy changes, or the EU gives a signal that they might now be included on the enlargement agenda. However, these are not formally part of the current agenda, which is already delayed due to bilateral disputes in the Balkans and difficulty in fully implementing the acquis communautaire (the accepted body of EU law).

State Status Association
Acquis Chapters
closed/open[N 1]
Albania Albania Candidate 2009-04-01 (SAA) 2009-04-28 2014-06-24[6]
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and
Applicant 2015-06-01 (SAA) 2016-02-15[12]
Kosovo Kosovo
(status disputed)[13]
2016-04-01 (SAA)[14]
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia Candidate 2004-04-01 (SAA) 2004-03-22 2005-12-17
Montenegro Montenegro Negotiating 2010-05-01 (SAA) 2008-12-15 2010-12-17 2012-06-29 2013-06-27 2/22 of 33
Serbia Serbia Negotiating 2013-09-01 (SAA) 2009-12-22 2012-03-01 2014-01-21[15] 2015-03-24 0/2 of 34
Turkey Turkey Negotiating 1964-12-01 (AA) 1987-04-14 1999-12-12 2005-10-03 2006-10-13 1/15 of 33
  1. Jump up^ Excluding Chapters 34 (Institutions) and 35 (Other Issues) since these are not legislation chapters.

Recognised candidates

There are at present five “candidate countries”, who have applied to the EU and been accepted in principle.[16] These states have begun, or will begin shortly, the accession process by adopting EU law to bring the states in line with the rest of the Union. While most of these countries have applied only recently, Turkey is a long-standing candidate, having applied in 1987 and gaining candidate status in 1999.[17] This is due to the political issues surrounding the accession of the country.


Albania shown in orange

Albania applied for EU membership on 28 April 2009. Officially recognized by the EU as a “potential candidate country”, Albania started negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in 2003. The SAA was signed on 12 June 2006 and entered force on 1 April 2009, thus completing the first major step towards EU membership.

Following the same path as the recently admitted Central European and Mediterranean countries in 2004 and 2007, Albania has been extensively engaged with EU institutions, and joined NATO as a full member in 2009. It has also maintained its position as a stability factor and a strong ally of the European Unionand the United States in the troubled and divided region of the Balkans.[19]

After the application for EU membership was sent by the Albanian Government, on 16 November 2009 the Council of the European Union asked the European Commission (EC) to prepare an assessment concerning the readiness of the Republic of Albania to start accession negotiations, a process lasting about a year usually.[20] On 16 December 2009 the EC submitted the questionnaire on accessing preparation to the Albanian Government. Albania returned the questionnaire’s answers to the EC on 14 April 2010.[21] Candidacy status was not recognised by the EU along with Montenegro in December 2010, due to the long-lasting political row in the country.[22][23][24] In December 2010, Albanian citizens were given the right by the European Union to travel without visas to the Schengen area.[25]

On 10 October 2012, the European Commission evaluated Albania’s compliance with the twelve key priorities that were defined in November 2010 as necessary to be met before the country could be approved as an EU candidate and start negotiations for accession. Of these, four were found to be met, while two were well in progress and the remaining six were in moderate progress.[26] The Commission recommended in its assessment conclusions that Albania:

should be granted an official EU candidate status subject to completion of key measures in the areas of judicial and public administration reform and the revision of the parliamentary rules of procedures are revised. In order to be able to move to the next stage and open accession negotiations, Albania will have in particular to demonstrate sustained implementation of commitments already undertaken and completion of the remaining key priorities which have not been met in full. The focus should be on the rule of law and fundamental rights. Sustainable political dialogue will remain essential for a successful reform process. The conduct of the 2013 parliamentary elections will be a crucial test in this regard and a pre-condition for any recommendation to open negotiations.[27]

On 16 October 2013 the European Commission released its annual report which concluded that the Albanian election was held in an “orderly manner” and that progress had been made in meeting other conditions; as such it recommended granting Albania candidate status.[28] However, several states, including Denmark and the Netherlands, remained opposed to granting Albania candidate status until it demonstrates that its recent progress can be sustained.[29] Consequently, theCouncil of the European Union at its meeting in December 2013, agreed to postpone the decision on candidate status until June 2014.[30]

On 24 June 2014 the Council of the European Union agreed to grant Albania candidate status,[6] which was endorsed by the European Council a few days later.[31]

In March 2015, at the fifth “High Level Dialogue meeting” between Albania and EU, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement (Johannes Hahn) notified Albania the setting of a start date for accession negotiations to begin still required the following two conditions to be met: 1) The government need to reopen political dialogue with the parliamentary opposition, 2) Albania must deliver quality reforms for all 5 earlier identified key areas not yet complied with (public administration, rule of law, corruption, organised crime, fundamental rights[32]).[33] This official stance, was fully supported by the European Parliament through its pass of a Resolution comment in April 2015,[34] which basically agreed with all conclusions drawn by the Commission’s latest 2014 Progress Report on Albania.[35] The Albanian Prime Minister outlined the next step of his government would be to submit a detailed progress report on the implementation of the 5 key reforms to the Commission in Autumn 2015, and then he expected the accession negotiations should start shortly afterwards – before the end of 2015.[33]

Albania is currently receiving EUR 1,2bn of developmental aid until 2020 from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, a funding mechanism for EU candidate countries.


Macedonia shown in orange

Macedonia applied to become an official candidate on 22 March 2004. On 9 November 2005, the European Commission recommended that it attain candidate status. EU leaders agreed to this recommendation on 17 December, formally naming the country an official candidate. However, no starting date for negotiations has been announced yet.[when?]

Peace is maintained with underlying ethnic tensions over Albanians in the west of the country, who achieved greater autonomy through the implementation of theOhrid Accords. Unlike Serbia, Macedonia has maintained sovereignty over all its territory. In 2006, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski suggested that the country could join the EU in 2012 or 2013.[36] However, the EU never recognised this suggested time period.

On 17 December 2005, the European Council welcomed and congratulated the country’s achievements in implementing multiple reforms and agreements (Copenhagen criteria, Stabilisation and Association process, Ohrid Agreement).[37]

The country has a dispute over its name with its southern neighbour and current EU member Greece. Greece rejects the name “Macedonia” because it says it implies territorial ambitions towards Greece’s own northern province of Macedonia(see: Macedonia naming dispute). Because of this, the EU refers to the country only by the provisional appellation “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYRoM). The resolution of the name issue has become a precondition for accession,[38] since Greece has repeatedly confirmed it would use its right to block accession without a prior settlement.[39]Concerns over the country’s difficulties in reaching European standards on the rule of law and the economy[40] and over violence and irregularities in the 2008 parliamentary elections[41] have also cast doubts on the country’s candidacy. The European Commission has recommended that Macedonia begin accession talks in three successive meetings since 2009.[42]

A solution for the long-lasting naming dispute however moved considerably closer, when the Greek foreign minister on 4 October 2012 forwarded a draft for a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to settle the question. According to the Euractive website, the proposal was answered positively by the Macedonian foreign minister on 8 November 2012.[43] For Macedonia to begin accession negotiations, the country however still – besides solving the issue with Greece – needs to convince Bulgaria about removing their veto and block of negotiations.[44] On 11 December 2012, the Council of the European Union concluded that Macedonia could start accession negotiations as early as the second quarter of 2013, conditional on reaching an agreement on its dispute with Bulgaria and Greece. The Council was encouraged that progress on the latter dispute had recently been made by a UN mediator.[45]

In early 2013, political instability stemming from the Macedonian parliament’s approval of its 2013 fiscal budget through an undemocratic procedure threatened to derail the country’s request to start accession negotiations with the EU. However, the crisis was resolved when EU brokered a compromise between Macedonia’s political parties on 1 March 2013.[46] At the most recent meeting of the Council of the European Union in December 2013, the Council for the fifth consecutive year concluded that “the political criteria continue to be sufficiently met”, but in regards to making the final decision to open accession negotiations it was only agreed to revisit the issue in 2014. The decision whether or not to start accession negotiations will be made “on the basis of an update by the Commission on further implementation of reforms in the context of the High Level Accession Dialogue, including the implementation of the 1 March 2013 political agreement – and on tangible steps taken to promote good neighbourly relations – and to reach a negotiated and mutually accepted solution to the name issue”.[30]

The UN mediator, Matthew Nimetz, invited Greece and Macedonia to a new round of “name dispute” negotiations to begin on 26 March 2014.[47] In February 2014, the European Parliament passed a resolution stating that according to its assessment, the Copenhagen criteria have been sufficiently fulfilled for Macedonia to begin negotiations for EU accession, and called on the Council of the European Union to confirm the date for the launch of accession negotiations straight away, as bilateral disputes must not be an obstacle for the start of talks – although they must be solved before the accession.[48]As of May 2014 the name dispute was still unresolved,[49] but it was announced that negotiations were to be resumed after the Greek EP election and local elections on 25 May.[50] At the Council meeting in June 2014, the fixing of a start date for Macedonia’s accession negotiations was not on the agenda.[51]

Macedonia is currently receiving EUR 1,3bn of developmental aid until 2020 from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, a funding mechanism for EU candidate countries.


Montenegro shown in orange

In the independence referendum of 21 May 2006, the Montenegrin people voted for Montenegro to leave the state union of Serbia and Montenegro and become an independent state. After obtaining independence, Montenegro officially submitted its EU membership application to the European Commission (EC) on 15 December 2008.[52] However, Montenegro has been experiencing ecological, judicial and crime-related problems that could slow or hinder its bid.

Montenegro unilaterally adopted the euro as its currency at its launch in 2002, having previously used the German mark. Negotiations over the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) started in September 2006.[53] SAA was officially signed on 15 October 2007 and came into force on 1 May 2010, after all the 27 member-states of EU had ratified it.[54][55]

On 22 July 2009, a questionnaire to assess Montenegro’s application was presented to the Montenegrin Government by the EC. On 9 December 2009, Montenegro delivered its answers to the EC questionnaire. On 9 November 2010, theEuropean Commission recommended that the Council of the European Union grant Montenegro the status of candidate country.[56] On 17 December 2010, Montenegro became an official EU candidate country.[57]

In 2011 Montenegro’s population was overwhelmingly for joining the EU, 76.2% being in favour according to polling and only 9.8% against.[58]

Montenegro is currently receiving EUR 507mn of developmental aid until 2020 from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, a funding mechanism for EU candidate countries.


Serbia shown in orange; Kosovo shown in red

Negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement started in November 2005.[59] Serbia’s candidacy has been hindered by its relations with the breakaway state of the Republic of Kosovo. Serbia has made numerous concessions on this to achieve candidate status, such as allowing Kosovo to participate in regional forums, and jointly managing their border.[60]

On 29 April 2008, Serbian officials signed an SAA with the EU,[61] and the Serbian President sought official candidate status by the end of 2008.[62] The Dutch government refused to ratify the agreement while Ratko Mladić was not captured. He was captured in Serbia on 26 May 2011, removing the main obstacle for obtaining candidate status. As of January 2009, the Serbian government has started to implement its obligations under the agreement unilaterally.[63] The effects remain to be evaluated by the European Commission. Despite its setbacks in the political field, on 7 December 2009, EU unfroze the trade agreement with Serbia.[64] Serbian citizens gained visa-free travel to the Schengen zone on 19 December 2009,[65] and Serbia officially applied for the EU membership on 22 December 2009.[66]

In November 2010, The Economist stated that “EU Foreign Ministers have agreed to pass Serbia’s request for membership to the European Commission”.[67] The European Commission sent a legislative questionnaire of around 2,500 questions[68]and Serbia answered it on 31 January 2011. On 12 October 2011, the European Commission has recommended that Serbia should be granted an official EU candidate status following its successful application for the EU membership.[69]

A deal was reached with Romania in late February 2012 over the rights of the 30,000 ‘Vlachs’ in Serbia, removing Romanian objections to candidacy.[60] On 28 February, Carl Bildt, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, confirmed that the EU foreign ministers agreed to grant green light for Serbia candidacy status. Candidacy status was granted by theEuropean Council on 1 March 2012.[70] On 22 April 2013, the European Commission recommended the start of EU entry talks with Serbia.[71] On 28 June 2013 the European Council endorsed the Council of Ministers conclusions and recommendations to open accession negotiations with Serbia, and announced that they would commence by January 2014 at the latest.[72] The following day, the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Vincent Degert, stated that the screening of theacquis had commenced.[73] Screening of the acquis started on 25 September 2013.[74]

In December 2013 the Council of the European Union approved opening negotiations on Serbia’s accession in January 2014,[30] and the first Intergovernmental Conference was held on 21 January at the European Council in Brussels. Serbia was represented by Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and his first deputy Aleksandar Vučić, while the EU was represented by their Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Evangelos Venizelos.[15]

Serbia is currently receiving EUR 2.9bn of developmental aid until 2020 from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, a funding mechanism for EU candidate countries.


Turkey shown in orange

The status of Turkey with regard to the EU has become a matter of major significance and considerable controversy in recent years. Turkey is one of the founding members of the Council of Europe since 1949 and has been an “associate member” of the European Union and its predecessors since 1964, as a result of theEEC–Turkey Association Agreement (Ankara Agreement) that was signed on 12 September 1963.[75] The country formally applied for full membership on 14 April 1987, but 12 years passed before it was recognised as a candidate country at the Helsinki Summit in 1999. After a summit in Brussels on 17 December 2004 (following the major 2004 enlargement), the European Council announced that membership negotiations with Turkey were officially opened on 3 October 2005. The screening process which began on 20 October 2005 was completed on 18 October 2006.

Turkey, with the seventh largest economy in the Council of Europe and the fifteenth largest economy in the world,[76] has been in a customs union with the EU since 31 December 1995. Turkey was a founding member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1961, a founding member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 1973 and was an associate member of the Western European Union from 1992 until its dissolution in 2011. Turkey is also a founding member of the G-20 major economies (1999), which has close ties with the European Union.

Proponents of Turkey’s membership argue that it is a key regional power[77][78] with a large economy and the second largest military force of NATO[79][80] that will enhance the EU’s position as a global geostrategic player; given Turkey’s geographic location and economic, political and cultural ties in regions with that are in the immediate vicinity of the EU’s geopolitical sphere of influence; such as the East Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts, the Balkan peninsula, the Middle East, the Caspian Sea basin and Central Asia.[81][82]

According to Carl Bildt, Swedish foreign minister, “[The accession of Turkey] would give the EU a decisive role for stability in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, which is clearly in the strategic interest of Europe.”[83] One of Turkey’s key supporters for its bid to join the EU is the United Kingdom. In May 2008, Queen Elizabeth II said during a visit to Turkey, that “Turkey is uniquely positioned as a bridge between the East and West at a crucial time for the European Union and the world in general.”[84]

However others, such as former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, maintain an opposition to Turkey’s membership. Opponents argue that Turkey does not respect the key principles that are expected in aliberal democracy, such as the freedom of expression;[85] and because of the significant role of the army on the Turkish administrative foreground through the National Security Council; whose military-dominated structure was reformed on 23 July 2003, in line with the requests from the EU.[86] Turkey’s large population would also alter the balance of power in the representative European institutions. Upon joining the EU, Turkey’s 70 million inhabitants would bestow it the second largest number of MEPs in the European Parliament.[80] Demographic projections indicate that Turkey would surpass Germany in the number of seats by 2020.[80]

Other opponents to Turkey’s membership state that it would also affect future enlargement plans, especially the number of nations seeking EU membership,[80] grounds by which Valéry Giscard d’Estaing has opposed Turkey’s admission. Giscard d’Estaing has suggested that it would lead to demands for accession by Morocco. Morocco’s application was already rejected on geographic grounds, and Turkey, unlike Morocco, has territory in Europe. French President Nicolas Sarkozy(then a candidate) stated in January 2007 that “enlarging Europe with no limit risks destroying European political union, and that I do not accept…I want to say that Europe must give itself borders, that not all countries have a vocation to become members of Europe, beginning with Turkey which has no place inside the European Union.”[87] Only a small fraction of the Turkish territory (around 3%) lies in the present common geographical definition of Europe, with approximately 97% of its land mass being in Asia, including the capital Ankara. The vast majority of its population lives in the Asian side of the country. On the other hand, the country’s largest city, Istanbul, lies mostly in Europe. The population in the commonly defined as European part of Turkey is approximately ten million inhabitants, which is larger than Sweden, Austria, or 15 out of the 28 present EU members. In addition, the EU already has a member state located entirely in Asia—Cyprus to the south east of Anatolia and part of Anatolia’s continental shelf.

Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis said in September 2013 that he believed prejudice by EU member states would ultimately prevent Turkey from ever joining the bloc, although he suggested it could have a “very closely aligned” relationship with the EU akin to Norway.[88]

Another concern is the Cyprus dispute. The northern third of the island of Cyprus is considered by the EU and most states in the world to be part of the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state, but is de facto controlled by the government ofNorthern Cyprus, which is recognised by Turkey. Turkey, for its part, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus pending a resolution to the dispute under the auspices of the United Nations, and has 40,000 troops stationed on territory controlled by the Northern Cypriot government. The UN-backed Annan Plan for the re-unification of Cyprus was actively supported by the EU and Turkey. Separate referendums held in April 2004 produced different results on either side of the island: while accepted by the Turkish Cypriots in the north, the plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriots in the south.

Turkey is currently receiving EUR 9.2bn of developmental aid until 2020 from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, a funding mechanism for EU candidate countries.

Potential candidates[edit]

Western Balkans policy[edit]

The EU’s relations with the Western Balkans states were moved from the “External Relations” to the “Enlargement” policy segment in 2005. Those states which have not been recognised as candidate countries are considered “potential candidate countries”.[89] The move to Enlargement directorate was a consequence of the advancement of the Stabilisation and Association process.

The 2003 European Council summit in Thessaloniki set integration of the Western Balkans as a priority of EU expansion.

On 9 November 2005, the European Commission suggested in a strategy paper that the enlargement agenda of the time (Croatia, Turkey and the Western Balkans) could potentially block the possibility of a future accession of Armenia,Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.[90] Olli Rehn has said on occasion that the EU should “avoid overstretching our capacity, and instead consolidate our enlargement agenda,” adding, “this is already a challenging agenda for our accession process.”[91]

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Bosnia and Herzegovina shown in orange

Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for membership of the EU on 15 February 2016.[92]The country faces many economic as well as political problems and meaningful progress is necessary for the EU to consider a membership application from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) – required before applying for membership – started in 2005 and were originally expected to be finalised in late 2007.[93] However, negotiations stalled due to a disagreement over police reform, which the EU insisted on centralising away from the entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The SAA was initialled on 4 December 2007, and, following the adoption of the police reforms in April 2008, was signed on 16 June 2008.[94][95]Following ratification, the SAA should have entered into effect in 2011, but was frozen since Bosnia had not complied with its previous obligations, which would have led to the immediate suspension of the SAA. The obligations to be met by Bosnia before the SAA can come into force include the adoption of a law on state aids and a national census, and implementation of the Finci and Sejdic ruling of the ECHR requiring an amendment to theConstitution to allow members of minorities to be elected to the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to gain seats in the House of Peoples. The EU has also required that the country create a single unified body to manage their relations with the EU.[96] The Germany–United Kingdom Initiative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, agreed to by the EU in late 2014, proposed that the SAA enter into force without first implementing the constitutional amendments required by Finci and Sejdic, provided that Bosnian authorities approve a declaration pledging their commitment to making the reforms required for European integration.[97] This was secured and the agreement entered into force on 1 June 2015.

Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina gained visa-free travel to the EU in December 2010.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently receiving EUR 822mn of developmental aid until 2020 from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, a funding mechanism for EU candidate countries.


Kosovo shown in orange

As of July 2013, 5 of the 28 member states do not recognise the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state. As a result, the European Union itself refers only to “Kosovo*”, with an asterisked footnote containing the text agreed to by theBelgrade–Pristina negotiations: “This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.”

A Stabilisation Tracking Mechanism (STM) was launched by EU for Kosovo on 6 November 2002. It is an association process specially devised to promote policy dialogue between the EU and the Kosovan authorities on EU approximation matters.[98] As confirmed by the Thessaloniki Summit in June 2003, Kosovo was through the initiated STM process now anchored in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Process, the EU policy which applies to the Western Balkans. On 20 April 2005 the European Commission adopted the Communication onKosovo to the Council, “A European Future for Kosovo“, which reinforces the Commission’s commitment to Kosovo. Furthermore, on 20 January 2006, the Council adopted a European Partnership for Serbia and Montenegro, includingKosovo as defined by UNSCR1244. The European Partnership is a means to materialise the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries within the framework of the stabilisation and association process. The Provisional Institutions of Self Government (PISG) adopted an Action Plan for the Implementation of the European Partnership in August 2006. The PISG regularly reports on the implementation of this action plan.[99]

The Republic of Kosovo‘s declaration of independence from Serbia was enacted on 17 February 2008 by a vote of members of the Assembly of Kosovo.[100][101] The fact that their independence was not recognised by Serbia, and consequently also not recognised by five EU member states (Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Greece and Cyprus), did not prevent the country from continuing its STM programme, which aimed to gradually integrate its national policies on legal, economic and social matters with EU, so that at some point in the future they would qualify for EU membership. Kosovo’s politicians announced in April 2008 that they expected Kosovo to join the EU in 2015,[102] and the 15th STM meeting was successfully held between EU and Kosovo in December 2008.

Negotiations for EU membership will only start once the country becomes an official candidate for EU membership, and for that to happen Kosovo first needs to sign a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with EU. Before becoming a member they will also likely need to be fully recognised as a sovereign state by all EU member states.[103][104][105] On 10 October 2012 the European Commission found that there were no legal obstacles to Kosovo signing a SAA with the EU, as full sovereignty is not required for such an agreement, and recommended that negotiations start as soon as Kosovo had made further progress on issues in four areas: “Rule of law”, “Public administration”, “Protection of minorities”, and “Trade”.[106] On 15 October 2012 this invitation was answered positively by the Prime Minister of Kosovo, who together with the Ministerial Council on European Integration agreed on a to-do list for public authorities to secure “Fulfillment in record time of the technical criteria for the start of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement”.[107]

Several days after Kosovo and Serbia reached an agreement further normalizing their relations, the European Commission recommended authorizing the launch of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo,[108] and on 28 June 2013 the European Council endorsed the Council of the European Union’s conclusions on opening negotiations with Kosovo.[109][110] Negotiations were started on 28 October,[111] and were completed on 2 May 2014.[112] The agreement was initialled on 25 July.[113] Kosovo signed the SAA with EU on October 27, 2015, and it entered into force in 2016.[114]

Kosovo is currently receiving EUR 1.3bn of developmental aid until 2020 from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, a funding mechanism for EU candidate countries.

Progress of current and potential candidate countries[edit]

It was previously the norm for enlargements to see multiple entrants join the Union at once. The only previous enlargements of a single state were the 1981 admission of Greece and the 2013 admission of Croatia.

However, the EU members have warned that, following the significant impact of the fifth enlargement in 2004, a more individual approach will be adopted in the future, although the entry of pairs or small groups of countries will most probably coincide.[115]

In July 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President-elect of the European Commission, announced that the EU has no plans to expand in the next five years.[116]

Recognised candidate countries[16] Potential candidate countries[16] Reference member states
Event Turkey[117] Macedonia[118] Montenegro[119] Serbia[120] Albania[121] Bosnia
Kosovo*[123][Note 1] Finland Czech
Bulgaria Croatia
EU Association Agreement[Note 2]negotiations start 1959AA
5 Apr 2000 10 Oct 2005[Note 3] 10 Oct 2005[Note 4] 31 Jan 2003 25 Nov 2005 28 Oct 2013[125] 1990 1990 1990 24 Nov 2000
EU Association Agreement signature 12 Sep 1963AA
9 Apr 2001 15 Oct 2007 29 Apr 2008 12 Jun 2006 16 Jun 2008 27 Oct 2015[114] 2 May 1992 4 Oct 1993 8 Mar 1993 29 Oct 2001
EU Association Agreement entry into force 1 Dec 1964AA
31 Dec 1995CU[126]
1 Apr 2004 1 May 2010 1 Sep 2013 1 Apr 2009 1 Jun 2015[127] 1 Apr 2016[128] 1 Jan 1994 1 Feb 1995 1 Feb 1995 1 Feb 2005
Membership application submitted 14 Apr 1987 22 Mar 2004 15 Dec 2008 22 Dec 2009 28 Apr 2009 15 Feb 2016[129] (tbd) 18 Mar 1992 17 Jan 1996 14 Dec 1995 21 Feb 2003
Council asksCommission foropinion 27 Apr 1987 17 May 2004 23 Apr 2009 25 Oct 2010[130] 16 Nov 2009 (tbd) (tbd) 6 Apr 1992 29 Jun 1996 29 Jan 1996 14 Apr 2003
Commission presents legislative questionnaire to applicant 1 Oct 2004 22 Jul 2009 24 Nov 2010 16 Dec 2009 (tbd) (tbd) Mar 1996 Apr 1996 10 Jul 2003
Applicant responds to questionnaire 10 May 2005 12 Apr 2010 22 Apr 2011 11 Jun 2010 (tbd) (tbd) Jun 1997 25 Apr 1997 9 Oct 2003
Commission prepares its opinion (and subsequent reports) 1989, 1997-2004 2005-09 9 Nov 2010 12 Oct 2011 2010-2013 (tbd) (tbd) 4 Nov 1992 15 Jul 1997 1997-99 20 Apr 2004
Commission recommends granting of candidate status 13 Oct 1999 9 Nov 2005 9 Nov 2010 12 Oct 2011 16 Oct 2013[131] (tbd) (tbd) 4 Nov 1992 15 Jul 1997 15 Jul 1997 20 Apr 2004
Council grantscandidate statusto Applicant 12 Dec 1999 17 Dec 2005 17 Dec 2010[132] 1 Mar 2012 24 Jun 2014[133] (tbd) (tbd) 21 Dec 1992 12 Dec 1997 12 Dec 1997 18 Jun 2004
Commission recommends starting of negotiations 6 Oct 2004 14 Oct 2009 12 Oct 2011 22 Apr 2013[134] (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) 4 Nov 1992 15 Jul 1997 13 Oct 1999 6 Oct 2004
Council setsnegotiations start date 17 Dec 2004 (tbd) 26 Jun 2012[135] 17 Dec 2013[136] (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) 21 Dec 1992 12 Dec 1997 10 Dec 1999 2004, 2005
Membership negotiations start 3 Oct 2005 (tbd) 29 Jun 2012 21 Jan 2014[137] (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) 1 Feb 1993 31 Mar 1998 15 Feb 2000 3 Oct 2005
Membership negotiations end (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) 1994 13 Dec 2002 17 Dec 2004 30 Jun 2011
Accession Treaty signature (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) 24 Jun 1994 16 Apr 2003 25 Apr 2005 9 Dec 2011
EU joining date (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) (tbd) 1 Jan 1995 1 May 2004 1 Jan 2007 1 Jul 2013
Acquis chapter
1. Free Movement of Goods f fs fs x x x x
2. Freedom of Movement for Workers f fs fs x x x x
3. Right of Establishment & Freedom to provide Services f fs fs x x x x
4. Free Movement of Capital o o fs x x x x
5. Public Procurement fs o fs x x x x
6. Company Law o o fs x x x x
7. Intellectual Property Law o o fs x x x x
8. Competition Policy fs fs fs x x x x
9. Financial Services f o fs x x x x
10. Information Society & Media o o fs x x x x
11. Agriculture & Rural Development f fs fs x x x x
12. Food safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy o fs fs x x x x
13. Fisheries f fs fs x x x x
14. Transport Policy f o fs x x x x
15. Energy f o fs x x x x
16. Taxation o o fs x x x x
17. Economic & Monetary Policy o fs fs x x x x
18. Statistics o o fs x x x x
19. Social Policy & Employment fs[Note 5] fs fs x x x x
20. Enterprise & Industrial Policy o o fs x x x x
21. Trans-European Networks o o fs x x x x
22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments o fs fs x x x x
23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights f o fs x x x x
24. Justice, Freedom & Security f o fs x x x x
25. Science & Research x x fs x x x x
26. Education & Culture f x fs x x x x
27. Environment o fs fs x x x x
28. Consumer & Health Protection o o fs x x x x
29. Customs Union f o fs x x x x
30. External Relations f o fs x x x x
31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy f o fs x x x x
32. Financial Control o o o x x x x
33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions f o fs x x x x
34. Institutions f x x x x
35. Other Issues o x x x x

(bracketed date): approximate and most probable nearest possible date

Situation of policy area at the start of membership negotiations (Turkey, reference states), at candidate status recommendation (Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) or membership application opinion (Albania); according to the 1992 Opinion, 1997 Opinions, 1999 Reports, 2005 Reports, 2010 Opinion, 2010 Reports and 2011 Reports.
s – screening of the chapter
fs – finished screening
f – frozen chapter
o – open chapter
x – closed chapter
  generally already applies the acquis
  no major difficulties expected
  further efforts needed
  non-acquis chapter – nothing to adopt
  considerable efforts needed
  very hard to adopt
  situation totally incompatible with EU acquis


  1. Jump up^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovounilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states. The European Union remains divided on its policy towards Kosovo, with five EU member states not recognizing its independence.
  2. Jump up^ EU Association Agreement type: Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) for the Western Balkans states participating in the Stabilisation and Association process of the EU (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo trough the STM); Association Agreement and Customs Union for Turkey; European Economic Area (EEA) for Iceland and Finland (reference state of the Fourth Enlargement); Europe Agreement for the reference states of the Fifth Enlargement.
  3. Jump up^ Montenegro started negotiations in November 2005 while a part of Serbia and Montenegro. Separate technical negotiations were conducted regarding issues of sub-state organizational competency. A mandate for direct negotiations with Montenegro was established in July 2006. Direct negotiations were initiated on 26 September 2006 and concluded on 1 December 2006.[124]
  4. Jump up^ Serbia started negotiations in November 2005 while part of Serbia and Montenegro, with a modified mandate from July 2006.
  5. Jump up^ Including anti-discrimination and equal opportunities for men and women.

States not on the agenda[edit]

The Maastricht Treaty states that any European country that is committed to democracy may apply for membership in the European Union.[138] In addition to European states, other countries have also been speculated or proposed as future members of the EU.

EFTA states[edit]

The European Union (blue)
and EFTA countries (green)

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are members of a free trade area (EFTA) developed in parallel to the EU. Most prior members of EFTA left to join the EU and the remaining countries, except Switzerland, formed the European Economic Areawith the EU. None has current aspirations to join the EU, although they (except Liechtenstein) have applied for membership but withdrawn them.


Iceland shown in orange

Iceland applied to join the EU in July 2009 following an economic crisis. Prior to that, its relations with the EU were defined by its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), which gave it access to the EU’s single market and the Schengen Area. As a result of their EEA membership, Iceland already applies many major economic EU laws and negotiations were expected to proceed rapidly (although research by the EFTA Secretariat in 2005 found that only 6.5% of laws had actually been adopted;[139][140] see below for European Commission assessment).

As in Norway, Iceland’s fear of losing control over its fishery resources in its territorial waters was the most important reason for its reluctance to join the EU. However the economic downturn in Iceland accelerated the debate, and theIndependence Party, then the largest opposition party, agreed to the opening of accession negotiations after a referendum (and subject to a further referendum).[141] A proposal to begin negotiations with the EU was put before the Icelandic parliament in July 2009[142] and approved (without a pre-negotiation referendum) by a slim majority on 16 July 2009. Iceland submitted its application to the Swedish presidency in a letter dated 16 July, and the application was acknowledged by the Council of the European Union on 27 July.[143] On 8 September, the EU commission sent Iceland a list of 2,500 questions about its fulfilment of convergence criteria and adoption of EU law. Iceland replied to the commission on 22 October 2009. On 2 November, Iceland selected a chief negotiator for the membership negotiations with the EU: Stefan Haukur Johannesson, Iceland’s Ambassador to Belgium. In February 2010, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy recommended to the Council of the European Union to start accession negotiations with Iceland. The European Council decided in June that negotiations should start,[144] and on 17 June 2010 the EU granted official candidate status to Iceland by formally approving the opening of membership talks.[145] On 26 July 2010, European Union foreign ministers formally gave the green light for negotiations to begin and agreed to start the talks on the following day.[146]

The first annual report on the negotiations was published in November 2010;[147] the main issues at stake remained thefisheries sector and whale hunting, while progress had been made concerning the Icesave dispute.[148]

In February 2013, the Icelandic chief negotiator stated that the main driving force for Iceland joining the EU was the benefit to the country of adopting the euro to replace the inflation-plagued Icelandic króna. Iceland’s HICP inflation and related long-term government interest rates were both recorded to be around 6% on average for 2012. Most importantly, however, while the country retained the Icelandic kronur, it was unable to lift the capital controls recently introduced in the turmoil of the economic crisis. Introduction of the euro, a far stronger currency, would allow the country to lift these capital controls and achieve an increased inward flow of foreign economic capital, which ultimately would ensure higher and more stable economic growth. To be eligible to adopt the euro, Iceland would need to join the EU, as unilateral euro adoption had previously been refused by the EU.[149]

On 14 January 2013, the two governing parties of Iceland, the Social Democratic Alliance and Left-Green Movement, announced that because it was no longer possible to complete EU accession negotiations before the parliamentary elections in April 2013, they had decided to slow down the process and the six remaining unopened chapters would not be opened until after the election. However, negotiations would continue for the 16 chapters currently open.[150] The new partyBright Future supports the completion of negotiations,[151] while the other two opposition parties, Independence Party andProgressive Party, argue that negotiations should be completely stopped.[152][153] In February 2013, the national congress of both the Independence Party and Progressive Party reconfirmed their policy that further membership negotiations with the EU should be stopped and not resumed unless they are first approved by a national referendum,[154][155] while the national congresses of the Social Democratic Alliance, Bright Future and Left-Green Movement reiterated their support for the completion of EU accession negotiations.[156] Iceland’s current chief negotiator stated in an interview in February 2013 that if the newly elected parliament supported the continuation of EU membership negotiations, it would be possible to complete negotiations by the spring of 2015, with a referendum on membership to be held after that.[149][157]

Following the April 2013 Icelandic election, the new Icelandic government announced that they were indefinitely extending the previous government’s freeze on EU accession talks, pending a national referendum on the application.[158] On 13 June, Iceland’s Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson informed the European Commission that the newly elected government intended to “put negotiations on hold”.[159] European Commission President Manuel Barroso responded on 16 July 2013 by requesting that the new Icelandic Prime Minister make a decision on the continuation of their accession bid “without further delay”.[160] Iceland has subsequently dissolved its accession negotiations team.[161] On 12 March 2015, Foreign Minister of Iceland Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson stated that he had sent a letter to the EU withdrawing the application for membership, without the approval of the Althing, though the European Union stated that Iceland had not formally withdrawn the application.[162]


Liechtenstein shown in orange

Liechtenstein is, like Norway and Iceland, a member of the European Economic Area and hence is already heavily integrated with the EU.[163] Seeking to join is not current policy.[163]


Norway shown in orange

Norway is not an EU member state, but adopts some EU legislation as a result of its participation in the European Economic Area (EEA) through the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Additionally, Norway has chosen to opt into some of the Union’s programmes, institutions and activities.[164] Whether or not the country should apply for full membership has been a dominant and divisive issue. Division within the governing red–green coalition(2005–2013) has blocked the issue since the 2005 parliamentary elections.[citation needed] Norway has applied four times for EEC and EU membership. In 1962 and 1967 France effectively vetoed Norway’s entry,[165] while the later 1972 referendumand the 1994 referendum were both lost by the government.[165][166]

Norway’s application for EU membership has been frozen but not withdrawn. It could be resumed at any time following renewed domestic political will, as happened in the case of Malta.

A major issue for Norway is its fishing resources, which are a significant part of the national economy and which would come under the Common Fisheries Policy if Norway were to accede to the EU.

Norway has high GNP per capita, and would have to pay a high membership fee. The country has a limited amount of agriculture, and few underdeveloped areas, which means that Norway would receive little economic support from the EU. However, as of 2009, Norway has chosen to opt into many EU projects and since its total financial contribution linked to the EEA agreement consists of contributions related to the participation in these projects, and a part made available to development projects for reducing social and economic disparities in the EU (EEA and Norway Grants),[164][167] its participation is on an equal footing with that of EU member states. The total EEA EFTA commitment amounts to 2.4% of the overall EU programme budget.

Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (the EU common market), the Schengen treaty (and was an associate member of the Western European Union until the organisation terminated in 2011), as well as other treaties and agreements normally considered as under the EU umbrella. Norway was a founding member of NATO in 1949.


Switzerland shown in orange

Switzerland took part in negotiating the EEA agreement with the EU and signed the agreement on 2 May 1992 and submitted an application for accession to the EU on 20 May 1992. A Swiss referendum held on 6 December 1992 rejected EEA membership. As a consequence, the Swiss Government decided to suspend negotiations for EU accession until further notice, but its application remains open. The popular initiative entitled “Yes to Europe!”, calling for the opening of immediate negotiations for EU membership, was rejected in a 4 March 2001 referendum. TheSwiss Federal Council, which is in favour of EU membership, had advised the population to vote against this referendum since the preconditions for the opening of negotiations had not been met. It is thought that the fear of a loss of neutrality and independence is the key issue against membership among Eurosceptics. Switzerland has relatively little amount of land area with agriculture, on which a large part of the EU budget is spent.

EU membership continued to be the objective of the government and is a “long-term aim” of the Federal Council. Furthermore, the Swiss population agreed to their country’s participation in the Schengen Agreement. As a result of that, Switzerland joined the area in December 2008.[168]

The Swiss federal government has recently undergone several substantial U-turns in policy, however, concerning specific agreements with the EU on freedom of movement for people, workers and areas concerning tax evasion have been addressed within the Swiss banking system. This was a result of the first Switzerland–EU summit in May 2004 where nine bilateral agreements were signed. Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission, said the agreements “moved Switzerland closer to Europe.” Joseph Deiss of the Swiss Federal Council said, “We might not be at the very centre of Europe but we’re definitely at the heart of Europe”. He continued, “We’re beginning a new era of relations between our two entities.”[169]

The Swiss government declared in September 2009 that bilateral treaties are not solutions and the membership debate has to be examined again.[170]

In the Swiss immigration referendum, February 2014, a federal popular initiative “against mass immigration”, Swiss voters narrowly approved measures limiting the freedom of movement of foreign citizens to Switzerland. The European Commission said it would have to examine the implications of the result on EU–Swiss relations.[171] Due to the refusal of Switzerland to grant Croatia free movement of persons, the EU accepted Switzerland’s access to the Erasmus+ student mobility program only as a “partner country”, as opposed to a “programme country”, and the EU has frozen negotiations on access to the EU electricity market. On March 4, 2016, Switzerland and the EU signed a treaty that would extend the accord of the free movement of people to Croatia, something which is expected to lead to Switzerland’s full readmission intoHorizon 2020, a European funding framework for research and development.[172][173]

In March 2016, the Swiss National Council voted to withdraw its suspended application for EU membership.[174][175][176] The motion was passed by the Council of States and is awaiting action by the Federal Council as of June.[177]

Microstates which use the euro[edit]

The five European microstates bordered by the European Union (blue):
 San Marino
  Vatican City

Within western Europe, there are five microstates: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City, and Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is a member of EFTA (see section EFTA states for its details). The other non-EFTA microstates have signed agreements allowing them not only to use the euro, but also to mint their own coins. The non-EFTA microstates are alsode facto part of the Schengen agreement or have a largely open border with the EU and have close relations with their neighbouring state. For example, Monaco is a full part of the EU’s customs territory via France, and applies most EU measures relating to VAT and excise duties.[178]

Close cooperation and inclusion in systems like the Eurozone are offered to them. This does not come without conditions. For example, the EU requires cooperation in tax control in return. Monaco has already implemented the EU Directive on the taxation of savings interest.


In Andorra (the largest European microstate), the government has said that “for the time being” there is no need to join the EU;[179] however, the opposition Social Democratic Party is in favour.


Monaco joined the Council of Europe in 2004,[180] a move that required it to renegotiate its relations with France, which previously had the right to nominate various ministers. This was seen as part of a general move toward Europe.[181] One concern is that, unlike the constitutional monarchies within the EU, the Prince of Monaco has considerable executive powers and is not merely a figurehead.

San Marino[edit]

In San Marino the centrist Popular Alliance has been reported to be in favour of joining the EU, which the rulingSammarinese Christian Democratic Party opposed in 2006.[182] In 2010 the Parliament tasked the government to open negotiations for further integration with the European Union,[183] and subsequently a technical group prepared a report on the topic including the options of EU and EEA membership.[184] A planned referendum on an EU membership application for 27 March 2011 was cancelled by the government.[185] A second referendum was held on 20 October 2013,[186][187] and although voters narrowly approved submitting an application, the percentage of eligible voters supporting the motion was not sufficient to meet the requirements for it to formally pass.[188]

Vatican City[edit]

The Vatican City (the smallest state in the world[189]) is an ecclesiastical[189] or sacerdotalmonarchical[190] state, and as such does not have the democratic credentials to join the EU (Art. 49 TEU) and is unlikely to attain them given its unique status.[citation needed] Additionally its economy is also of a unique non-commercial nature. Overall, the mission of the Vatican City state, which is tied to the mission of the Holy See, has little to do with the objectives of the EU Treaty.[191] Thus EU membership is not discussed, even though it is in the heart of an EU member state.[191]

Eastern Partnership states[edit]

  EU Member states
  Current Enlargement agenda
  Eastern Partnership ENP participants
  Other Eastern Partnership states

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the former Soviet republics in Eastern Europeand South Caucasus have been looked upon as potential candidates for EU enlargement. The majority of them are or have been closely linked to Russia and would need to concentrate more on other European partners to attain candidate status. It is expected that these states will remain outside the Union for a significant amount of time, because they are not currently on any enlargement agenda (in contrast to the Western Balkan states, Turkey, and Iceland).

However, a summit in Mamaia, Romania, in May 2004 showed enlargement to be a definite possibility, though only Ukraine and Moldova were present, as Belarus was not concerned with membership.

The South Caucasus states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have been the site of much instability since the 1990s. Their EU membership would be conditional on thepolitical assessment by the European Council about whether they are considered European. Nevertheless, all three states have been admitted as full members into theCouncil of Europe (like Cyprus) after a similar assessment process. Before the first official visit of external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner to the three Caucasus states, it was stated that if she were asked about enlargement, she would not rule it out.[192] It is unclear as to when they may move towards membership, even though they are part of the European Neighbourhood Policy and are often referred to as part of “a wider Europe”. Since their only land contact with European states is through Russia and Turkey, it is possible that they would only join after Turkey did so. However, on 12 January 2002, the European Parliament noted that Armenia and Georgia may enter the EU in the future regardless.[193]

The ENP Action Plans adopted by the EU and each individual partner state (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) states that “the EU takes note of expressed European aspirations by the ENP partner”.

In May 2008, Poland and Sweden put forward a joint proposal for an “Eastern Partnership” with Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, with Russia and Belarus participating in some aspects. Eventually, Belarus joined the initiative as a full member, while Russia does not participate at all. The Polish foreign minister Radosław Sikorski said “We all know the EU has enlargement fatigue. We have to use this time to prepare as much as possible so that when the fatigue passes, membership becomes something natural[194] In May 2009, the Eastern Partnership was inaugurated. Its members include the European Union as well as the post-Soviet states Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

With the inauguration of the second Barroso Commission in February 2010, the European Neighbourhood Policy was transferred from the portfolio of the External Relations Commissioner (replaced by the High Representative) to theEnlargement Commissioner.

A Polish–Swedish authored EU strategy sees the Eastern section of the Neighbourhood policy being split off and combined with the Eastern Partnership. These states would be offered full integration short of membership, but no enlargement would be on the agenda in the short to medium term.[9]


Armenia shown in orange

Armenia is geographically located entirely within Western Asia. However, likeCyprus, it has been regarded by many as culturally associated with Europe because of its connections with European society, through a diaspora, its Indo-European language and a religious criterion of being Christian. Armenia is still in conflict over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) and some surrounding, Armenian-occupied territory, internationally recognised as integral parts of Azerbaijan. Since 1994, a ceasefire has been in place, but tensions remain very high between the two countries. Although the country’s economy had one of the world’s fastest growth rates in the past few years, this comes following a low base and many years of near-continuous recession.[195]

The Metsamor nuclear power plant, which is situated some 40 km (25 mi) west of Yerevan, is built on top of an active seismic zone and is a matter of negotiation between Armenia and the EU. Towards the end of 2007, Armenia approved a plan to shut down the Metsamor plant in compliance with the New European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.[196] This is likely to take place by 2016 when the operating term of the Metsamor facility expires.[197]

Several Armenian officials have expressed the desire for their country to eventually become an EU member state,[198] with some predicting an official bid for membership.[199] Public opinion in Armenia suggests the move for membership would be welcomed, with 64% out of a sample of 2,000 being in favour and only 11.8% being against.[200] The EU is Armenia’s largest trading partner and as of January 10, 2013, citizens of the EU will no longer need visas to travel to Armenia. Armenia negotiated an association agreement, including a free trade area, with the EU,[201] but in 2013 Armenia announced plans to instead join the Eurasian Economic Community customs union.[202][203]


Azerbaijan shown in orange

Azerbaijan, a majority-Shia Muslim but secular country with a Turkic population, would need to overcome several obstacles in order to be considered a potential EU candidate. The oil-rich country has made improvements to its infrastructure, but much of the money from its very high GDP growth, one of the world’s fastest, still does not seem to find its way into the lower echelons of society,[citation needed] despite being larger and more technologically modernised than its neighbours Georgia and Armenia. Its economy is also suffering from the “Dutch disease,” as oil is becoming its primary export, rendering the manufacturing sector less competitive.[204]Corruption is a serious issue in Azerbaijan, and recent presidential elections were disputed and have been criticised for not being free, fair or democratic by international observers. Together with Armenia, Azerbaijan also needs to resolve tension concerning the situation of the unilateral declaration of independence of Nagorno-Karabakh and neighbouring territory occupied by Armenia. The EU wishes to see the easing of tensions in the area.


Belarus shown in orange

The EU’s relations with Belarus are strained as the EU has condemned the government of Belarus several times for authoritarian and anti-democratic practices, and even imposed sanctions on the country.[205] Under its current president, Belarus has instead sought a close confederation with Russia, short of political reunion. According to the initial ENP plan in 2004 Belarus is considered a potential participant, but not yet ready. Because of warming moves by both sides,[206] Belarus became a member of the Eastern Partnership in 2009 despite its non-participation in the ENP.


Georgia shown in orange

Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili has expressed a desire for Georgia to join the EU. This view has been explicitly expressed on several occasions as links to the United States, EU and NATO have been strengthened in an attempt to move away from the Russian sphere of influence. Territorial integrity issues in Ajaria were dealt with after the Rose Revolution, when leader Aslan Abashidze was forced to resign in May 2004. However, unresolved territorial integrity issues have again risen to the forefront in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as a result of the 2008 South Ossetia War.

On 11 November 2010, Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze announced that Georgia wants to cooperate with Ukraine in their attempt to join the European Union.[207]

The EU and Georgia began a visa liberalisation dialogue to allow for visa free travel of Georgian citizens to the European Union. The action plan was delivered to Georgia on 25 February 2013.[208]

A ceremony on the initialling of an Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union was held on 29 November 2013.[209] The agreement was signed in June 2014.[210] At the signing ceremony, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili called the agreement a “road map” towards further integration and eventual membership in the European Union.[210]

The European Parliament passed a resolution in 2014 stating that “in accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as any other European country, have a European perspective and can apply for EU membership in compliance with the principles of democracy, respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, minority rights and ensuring the rule of rights.”[211]


Moldova shown in orange

In August 2009, four Moldovan parties agreed to create a governing coalition, calledAlliance for European Integration, which made European integration a priority. The government is implementing its first three-year action plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of the EU. The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) represents the legal framework for the Republic of Moldova—European Union relationship.[212] The agreement was signed on 28 November 1994 and entered into force on 1 July 1998 for the next 10 years. This arrangement provides for a basis of cooperation with the EU in the political, commercial, economic, legal, cultural, and scientific areas. The EU is developing an increasingly close relationship with Moldova, going beyond co-operation, to gradual economic integration and a deepening of political co-operation. In 6 October 2005, the EU opened its permanent mission in Chișinău, the capital city of Moldova. Moldova gained visa-free regime with Schengen states on 28 April 2014.[213] An Association Agreement with the European Union was signed in June 2014.[210]

In April 2014, whilst visiting the Moldovan-Romanian border at Sculeni, Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca stated; “We have an ambitious target but I consider that we can reach it: doing everything possible for Moldova to become a full member of the European Union when Romania will hold the presidency of the EU in 2019”.[214] Some political parties within both Moldova and Romania advocate a merging of the two countries. Such a scenario would incorporate the current territory of Moldova into Romania and thus into the EU.[215][216]

The integration process, however, has been hampered by many internal issues. The unresolved issue of the breakaway republic of Transnistria is a major barrier to any progress. Also, Moldova’s autonomous region of Gagauzia held two referendums on February 2, 2014 where an overwhelming majority of voters rejected integration with the EU and opted for closer ties with Russia.[217]


Ukraine in orange

Many political factions of Ukraine advocate joining the EU and developing ties with Europe. Since the Orange Revolution of late 2004, Ukraine’s membership prospects have improved. The then opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko hinted that he would press the EU for deeper ties, and described a four-point plan: the acknowledgment of Ukraine as a market economy, entry in the World Trade Organisation, associate membership with the EU, and lastly full membership.[218] However, following ambiguous signals from the EU, Ukrainian President Yushchenko responded to the apathetic mood of the Commission by stating that he intended to send an application for EU membership “in the near future”. In September 2009 two Ukrainian diplomats, backed by a number of others, argued that Ukraine should submit a formal application for membership in 2010 in order to get a clearer message from Brussels,[219] however it was never lodged.[220] Public support in Ukraine for EU membership regularly polls higher than opposition. In a December 2012 poll by Razumkov Center, support had grown to 48% while the “against” had shrunk to 10.5% (32% supported Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia).[221]

Inside the EU, opinion is split. Several EU leaders have already stated strong support for closer economic ties with Ukraine but have stopped short of direct support for such a bid. In 2005, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld noted that Poland will in every way promote Ukraine’s desire to be integrated with the EU, get the status of a market-economy country and join the WTO. Portugal also publicly stated it supports Ukraine’s EU accession.[222] On 13 January 2005 the European Parliament almost unanimously (467 votes to 19 in favour) passed a motion stating the wish of the Parliament to establish closer ties with Ukraine with the possibility of EU membership. A 2005 poll of the six largest EU nations showed that the European public would be more likely to accept Ukraine as a future EU member than any other country that was not currently an official candidate. In 2002, then-Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen said that “a European perspective” for Ukraine does not necessarily mean membership in 10 or 20 years, however, that does not mean it is not a possibility. The European Commission has stated that future EU membership will not be ruled out and in 2005 Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that the future of Ukraine is in the EU. Late 2005 then-Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn stated that the EU should avoid overstretch, adding that the enlargement agenda at the time was already very heavy.[223] In September 2011 European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Fülerefused to include “Ukraine’s prospects for membership of the European Union” in the European Union Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine.[224] At the 16th[225] EU-Ukraine summit of 25 February 2013 a joint statement of Ukraine and the EU “reaffirmed their cooperation on political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union on the basis of respect for shared values and their effective promotion”.[226] Ukrainian and EU officials convened in Yalta in September 2013 for a summit[227] at which the issue of jailed opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko‘s incarceration appeared to be a sticking point between President Viktor Yanukovych and EU leaders.[228] Even still, Ukrainian officials received encouragement from Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to sign a free trade and political association agreement with the EU.[229]

During a summit in November 2013, Ukraine refused to sign their Association Agreement with the EU, due to Russian pressure.[230] President Yanukovych described the agreement as disadvantageous for Ukraine. This sparked massive pro-EU protests, with thousands of people chanting “Ukraine is Europe”, that ultimately led to the fall of the Ukrainian government. EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso later said “We are embarked on a long journey, helping Ukraine to become, as others, what we call now, ‘new member states’. But we have to set aside short-term political calculations.” [231] On 27 February 2014 the European Parliament passed a resolution that recognised Ukraine’s right to “apply to become a Member of the Union, provided that it adheres to the principles of democracy, respects fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights, and ensures the rule of law”.[232][233] In March 2014, the interim Ukrainian government signed the “core elements” of the Association Agreement with the EU, but parts of the agreement concerning free trade were left out of the deal pending May elections.[234] Following the election, new President Petro Poroshenkosigned the agreement,[210] which he described as Ukraine’s “first but most decisive step” towards EU membership.[235] Later that year Poroshenko set 2020 as a target for an EU membership application.[10] In March 2016, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker stated that it would take at least 20–25 years for Ukraine to join the EU and NATO.[236]

Other states with European territory[edit]

  EaP participants
  Ex-Soviet republics outside EaP with some European territory


The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Kazakhstan has been the legal framework for EU–Kazakhstan bilateral relations since it entered into force in 1999.[237]“Kazakhstan has a westward extension, which makes a strong case geographically for its European Neighbourhood status.”[238]In 2009, the ambassador of Kazakhstan to Russia, Adilbek Dzhaksybekov said “We would like to join in the future the European Union, but to join not as Estonia and Latvia, but as an equal partner”.[239] This statement is mostly visionary and about long term perspective, because currently Kazakhstan is not even participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) although the Kazakh Foreign Ministry has expressed interest in the ENP. MEP Charles Tannock has suggested Kazakhstan’s inclusion in the ENP, while emphasizing that “there are still concerns regarding democracy and human rights in Kazakhstan”.[238]


During the preparation stages of the ENP, Russia insisted on the creation of the four EU-Russia Common Spaces instead of ENP participation, as it saw the ENP as “unequal” arrangement with a dominant role of the EU.[240] In the framework of the EU-Russia Common Spaces in May 2005, a roadmap was adopted with similar content to the ENP Action Plans. Both the ENP and the EU-Russia Common Spaces are implemented by the EU through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

Among the most vocal supporters of Russian membership of the EU has been former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi; in October 2008 he said “I consider Russia to be a Western country and my plan is for the Russian Federation to be able to become a member of the European Union in the coming years” and stated that he had this vision for years.[241] Russian permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov commented on this by saying that Russia has no plans of joining the EU.[242] Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said that Russia joining the EU would not be in the interests of either Russia or the EU, although he advocated close integration in various dimensions including establishment of four common spaces between Russia and the EU, including united economic, educational and scientific spaces as it was declared in the agreement in 2003.[243][244][245][246]

At present, the prospect of Russia joining the EU any time in the near future is slim. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has also said that though Russia must “find its place both in NATO, and, in the longer term, in the European Union, and if conditions are created for this to happen” that such a thing is not economically feasible in the near future.[247]

States outside Europe[edit]

EU neighbouring countries:

  European Union
  Official candidates

In the Treaty of Maastricht (Article 49), it is stated that any European country (as defined by the EU political assessment) that respects the principles of the European Union may apply to join. No mention is made of enlarging the EU to include non-European countries, though an exception has been made for Cyprus and has been envisioned by some for states such as Armenia, and the precedents of turning downMorocco‘s application and defining Israel‘s closest integration as “just short of full membership” suggest that currently states outside geographic Europe are unlikely to obtain full EU membership.[citation needed]

Despite such precedents, Cape Verde has expressed its desire to join the EU.[248][249][250]

However, some non-European states have different degrees of integration with the EU stipulated by agreements, always short of membership. Alternatively such countries could be integrated into a larger regional block or an overlapping block such as Nicolas Sarkozy‘s proposal to create a Mediterranean Union, or a lesser organisation such as theEuro-Mediterranean free trade area. The current frameworks for development of such agreements are the Barcelona process and the European Neighbourhood Policy.


In 2005 and 2006, it had been speculated that Canada could, and some said should,[251][252][253] join the European Union, even though Canada is not located in Europe.

Cape Verde[edit]

Cape Verde is an island nation of the Atlantic Ocean and a former Portuguese colony. In March 2005 former Portuguese president Mário Soares launched a petition urging the European Union to start membership talks with it, saying that Cape Verde could act as a bridge between Africa, Latin America and the EU.[254][255]

Cape Verde’s per capita GDP is lower than any of the current member states, accession countries, or candidate countries. Most of the imports and exports of Cape Verde are from and to the European Union, and it has a service-based economy. Its currency, the escudo, is pegged to the euro.

Although the Cape Verde archipelago is geographically in Africa, there have been similar situations before. Cyprus is an island nation which, despite being geographically in Asia, has already joined both the Council of Europe and the EU. Furthermore, the Cape Verde islands are part of the same island group as the Canary Islands (part of Spain), Madeira Islands and the Azores Islands (part of Portugal), known as Macaronesia. There is currently no political recognition by the EU of Cape Verde as a European state, but unlike in the case of Morocco, there is no formal rejection either.

Recently Cape Verde has been distancing itself from its regional African partners[citation needed] and forging closer ties with the EU. In a move signaling its preparation to loosen ties with the West African regional bloc,[citation needed] the government of Cape Verde in September 2006 declared its intentions on suspending the ECOWAS free movement of goods and trade. Prime Minister José Maria Neves announced that his country will start imposing restrictions on the entrance of citizens from all ECOWAS member states. This is also an effort to limit the recent rise of illegal immigration of other West African nationals using Cape Verde and its proximity to the Canary Islands as a springboard towards Europe.


The principle of Israel joining the European Union has been supported by some politicians in both Israel and Europe, including the former Israeli Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom,[256] former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman[257] and former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.[258] Two Italian MEPs campaigned in favour of Israeli membership as recently as 2006.[259] A 2004 opinion poll showed that 85% of Israelis would support an application for membership.[260] Another survey in 2011 showed support for EU membership is 81%.[261]

The Israeli government has hinted several times that an EU membership bid is a possibility, but the EU itself proposes instead the closest possible integration “just short of full membership.” Faster advancement of such plans is somewhat hampered by the current instability in the Middle East and conflicts in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Lebanon. European public opinion of some of Israel’s policies, especially those related to the aforementioned areas of conflict is, in general, poor.[262]

The European Council has not been asked to take a stance regarding whether or not Israel is a European state, but similar circumstances to Morocco (being geographically outside Europe and without exceptional features such as CoE membership) will most likely preclude its inclusion as a full member into the EU as well. However, it can obtain a large degree of integration through the current and future EU Neighbourhood Policies – the former Spanish foreign ministerMiguel Ángel Moratinos spoke out for a “privileged partnership, offering all the benefits of EU membership, without participation in the institutions”. On 11 January 2005, industry commissioner and vice president of the commission Günter Verheugen even suggested the possibility of a monetary union and common market with Israel.

An argument[263] for the inclusion of Israel into the EU as a full member is that it has a partly “European” culture, as a significant number of Israelis are Jews who immigrated to Israel from Europe (and their descendants). Israel also has a GDP per capita similar to many richer European countries. Some claim that allowing Israel into the EU would create a precedent for other geographically non-European countries to apply for membership, but in fact[264] this precedent already exists as Cyprus, which is already a member state, is geographically in Asia. Proponents of Israel’s accession to the EU claim that Israel’s situation is similar to that of Cyprus—a country outside of Europe geographically, but a part of Europe culturally and socially.[citation needed]

In 2014, former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar said Israel is needed by the European Union, in an address at the British House of Commons. Aznar said his report recommends that due to its Western culture and the benefits it brings the European Union, Israel should become a full member of the EU without pre-conditions.[265]

However, a growing number of EU member states have begun to grant formal recognition to the State of Palestine meaning Israel may oppose EU membership, or EU members may oppose the integration of Israel on political and cultural grounds.[266]


Morocco submitted an application to join the EU (then EEC) in July 1987, but it was rejected by the European Council later in the year on the grounds that it “did not consider Morocco a European country”. Although there are factors such as the developing economy or unresolved border issues with several of its neighbours and the conflict over Western Sahara, aEuropean Union Association Agreement similar to that applied to Tunisia and Algeria is implemented between Morocco and the EU. The Moroccan government argues that a “substantial” amount of its territory is already part of the European Union, specifically Spanish enclaves in Northern Africa that Morocco says are occupied territory.[citation needed]

Special territories of member states[edit]

There are multiple Special member state territories, some of them are not fully covered by the EU treaties and apply EU law only partially, if at all. It is possible for a dependency to change its status regarding the EU and/or some particular treaty or law provision. The territory may change its status from participation to leaving or from being outside to joining.

British dependencies[edit]

British Overseas Territories

The only country with the status of British Overseas Territory that is part of the EU is Gibraltar, which joined the EEC together with the United Kingdom in 1973. The other overseas territories are defined as Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU. All of them are associated with the EU (meaning they apply some parts of EU law) and their nationals are in principle EU citizens.[267]

Crown Dependencies

Special terms were negotiated for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man on the UK’s accession to the European Economic Community. These are contained in Protocol 3 to the Treaty of Accession 1973. The effect of the protocol is that the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are within the Common Customs Area and the Common External Tariff (i.e. they enjoy access to European Union countries of physical exports without tariff barriers). Other Community rules do not apply to the Islands.

Sovereign Base Areas

The UK Sovereign Base Areas, Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus did not join the European Union when the United Kingdom joined. Cyprus’ Accession Treaty specifically stated that this would not change with the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. However, currently, some provisions of the EU Law are applicable there—mainly border management,food safety and free movement of people and goods.

Danish self-governing communities[edit]

Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands, a self-governing nation within the Kingdom of Denmark, are not part of the EU, as explicitly asserted by both Rome treaties.[268] The relations with the EU are governed by a Fisheries Agreement (1977) and a Free Trade Agreement (1991, revised 1998). The main reason for remaining outside the EU is disagreements about the Common Fisheries Policy,[269] which disfavours countries with large fish resources. Also, every member has to pay for the Common Agricultural Policy, which favours countries having much agriculture which the Faroe Islands does not.

Nevertheless, there are politicians, mainly in the right-wing Union Party (Sambandsflokkurin), led by their chairman Kaj Leo Johannesen, who would like to see the Faroes as a member of the EU. However, the chairman of the left-wing Republic(Tjóðveldi), Høgni Hoydal, has expressed concerns that if the Faroes were to join the EU as is, they might vanish inside the EU, comparing this with the situation of the Shetland Islands and Åland today, and wants the local government to solve the political situation between the Faroes and Denmark first.[270]


Greenland, a self-governing community that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, held a second referendum on membership after the establishment of Greenland’s home rule in 1979 (effective from 1980). The result was to leave, so on 1 February 1985, Greenland left the EEC and EURATOM. Its status was changed to that of an Overseas Country.[267] Danish nationals residing in Greenland (i.e. all native population) are nonetheless fully European citizens; they are not, however, entitled to vote in European elections.

There has been some speculation as to whether Greenland may consider rejoining the European Union. On 4 January 2007 the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten quoted the former Danish minister for Greenland, Tom Høyem, as saying “I would not be surprised if Greenland again becomes a member of the EU… The EU needs the Arctic window and Greenland cannot alone manage the gigantic Arctic possibilities”.[271] Greenland has a lot of natural resources, and Greenland has contracted private companies to exploit some of them, but the cost is considered too high, as Greenland is remote and severely lacks infrastructure.

Dutch constituent countries and special municipalities[edit]

The islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten are constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, whileBonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are special Dutch municipalities. All are Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) under Annex II of the EC treaty.[267] OCTs are considered to be “associated” with the EU and apply some portions of EU law. The islands are opting to become an Outermost Region (OMR) of the EU, the same status the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands and the French overseas departments have.

When Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba were established as Dutch public bodies after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles (which was an OCT) in 2010, their status within the EU were raised. Rather than change their status from an OCT to an outermost region, as their change in status within the Netherlands would imply, it was decided that their status would remain the same for at least five years. After those five years, their status would be reviewed.

If it was decided that one or all of the islands wish to integrate more with the EU then the Treaty of Lisbon provides for that following a unanimous decision from the European Council.[272] Former European Commissioner for Enlargement Danuta Hübner has said before the European Parliament that she doesn’t expect many problems to occur with such a status change, as the population of the islands is only a few thousand people.

French overseas departments and territories[edit]

The territories of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion are overseas departments of France and at the same time mono-departmental overseas regions. According to the EC treaty (article 299 2), all of these departments are outermost regions (OMR) of the EU—hence provisions of the EC treaty apply there while derogations are allowed. The status of the Overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin is also defined as OMR by the Treaty of Lisbon. New Caledonia and the overseas collectivities of French Polynesia, Saint-Barthelemy, Saint Pierre et Miquelon and Wallis and Futuna are Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU.[267]

New Caledonia

New Caledonia is an overseas territory of France with its own unique status under the French Constitution, which is distinct from that of overseas departments and collectivities. It is defined as an “overseas country” under the 1998 Nouméa Accord, and enjoys a high degree of self-government.[273] Currently, in regard to the EU, it is one of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT).

As a result of the Nouméa Accord, New Caledonians will vote on an independence referendum scheduled between 2014 and 2019. This referendum will determine whether the territory remains a part of the French Republic as a “sui generis collectivity”, or whether it will become an independent state. The accords also specify a gradual devolution of powers to the local New Caledonian assembly.

Northern Cyprus[edit]

Area shown in orange under control of Northern Cyprus

Officially, the island nation Cyprus is part of the European Union, under the de jure sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and thus of the European Union, and were entitled to vote in the 2004 European Parliament election (though only a few hundred registered). The EU’s acquis communautaire is suspended indefinitely in the northern third of the island, which has remained outside the control of the Republic of Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of 1974. The Greek Cypriotcommunity rejected the Annan Plan for the settlement of the Cyprus dispute in a referendum on 24 April 2004. Had the referendum been in favour of the settlement proposal, the island (excluding the British Sovereign Base Areas) would have joined the European Union as the United Cyprus Republic.

The European Union’s relations with the Turkish Cypriot Community are handled by the European Commission‘sDirectorate-General for Enlargement.[274]

Secession from a member state[edit]

There have been and are a number of active separatist movements within member states, for example in Catalonia,Flanders, the Basque Country and Scotland. If such a movement resulted in independence for a region, the newly created state may wish to become a member of the EU.

In December 2012, the president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso stated, in the context of the 2014 referendum for independence in Scotland, that any new independent country would have to apply for membership and negotiate its terms, but that the rest of the original country (UK) would not have to re-negotiate its position and would continue its membership.[275][276]

The current EU treaties do not contain any provisions for secessionist scenarios but it is expected that if a seceding province/country re-applied for EU membership, admission would need to be approved unanimously by existing members.[277]


There are no precedents for a region seceding from an existing member state becoming a separate member state of the EU, though some areas have left the EU/EEC for autonomy or full independence without desiring to rejoin.

Algeria is the only region or territory of an existing member state to leave the EU/EEC upon becoming an independent state. Prior to 1962, it was an overseas department of France, an outermost region in EEC terminology,[278] and has not attempted to join the EEC/EU after independence.

Greenland voted to leave the EEC (the predecessor to the EU) after gaining greater autonomy from Denmark in 1982. However, the similarity between this and other proposed scenarios is disputed.[279]

Saint Barthélemy left the EU in 2012. This change in status (from “overseas countries and territories” to “outer-most regions”) was made possible by a provision of the Lisbon Treaty which allows the European Council to change the EU status of a Danish, Dutch or French territory on the initiative of the member state concerned.[Footnote 1][280][281]

Possible future scenarios[edit]


Further information: Catalan independence

Since the announcement by the Catalan Prime-Minister Artur Mas in December 2012 that a referendum would be held on Catalan independence, different scenarios regarding the status of Catalonia in the European Union have been proposed. Similar to the situation with the Scottish referendum, the executive has argued that Catalonia will be a successor state to the Kingdom of Spain and hence would automatically continue as a member of the European Union. The Spanish Prime-Minister Mariano Rajoy argues that Catalonia would need to re-apply for admission to the EU. On a European level, Spanish EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in 2013 that Catalonia would have to apply for EU membership in the event of secession from Spain.[282] A similar position was expressed by the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.


Further information: Partition of Belgium

In case of a Flemish secession from Belgium, the future status of Brussels (the de facto capital of the EU) could be unclear. There are various proposals for what should happen to the city, ranging from staying part of the Belgian rump state, to joining the hypothetical Flemish state, to becoming a separate political entity. In the latter case, how much sovereignty Brussels would have also varies, ranging from as a member state with heavy involvement and subsidy from the EU to becoming an EU capital district analogous to Canberra, Brasília, Mexico City, or Washington, D.C..[283][284]


During the campaigns around the 2014 independence referendum in Scotland, there was debate over what would happen to an independent Scotland’s EU membership. The Scottish Government, leading the campaign for independence, claims that Scotland could continue its membership of the EU after an expedited period of negotiations, and inherit the UK’s opt-outs of the euro and the Schengen Agreement because of the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties (VCSS), adopted 1978.[285][286][287] However, some commentators and academic analyses have rejected this claim.[288][289][290]

Borgen (2010) argues that the case based on the VCSS is “difficult to sustain.”[285] Murkens (2002) and Borgen (2010) point out that the VCSS is not applied if it would be (quoting the original convention) “incompatible with [the] object and purpose of the treaty or would radically change the conditions of its operations”, which would be the case with the Treaty of Rome as a new member state would require voting rights in the Council of Ministers and seats in the European Parliament,etc.[285][291] The VCSS is also only ratified by twenty-two parties and not by most of the EU states.[285] James (2008) argues that, in addition to these points, whatever the legal argument, the realpolitik of the situation is such that it would be difficult for a newly independent Scotland “to force its way into the European Union against the wishes of a sizeable number of its members […]. This is more a matter of power politics than law”.[290]

Since then, a number of legal experts and politicians have voiced their opinion on either side of the divide. Graham Avery,David Scheffer, Lucinda Creighton, and James Crawford are among those who agree that Scotland would be able to negotiate its continued EU membership by the Scottish Government’s planned date of independence in 2016.[292][293][294]However, Avery also contradicted Salmond’s claims that an independent Scotland would not have to sign up to the euro and the Schengen Agreement.[295] The UK Government, citing individuals including José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said that “the remainder of the UK would continue to exercise the UK’s existing international rights and obligations and Scotland would form a new state”.[295] In response, the Deputy First Minister for Scotland, the SNP’sNicola Sturgeon, said that the SNP government did not agree an independent Scotland would have to reapply for EU membership.[275]

Former European Court judge, Professor Sir David Edward, argued in a December 2012 paper [296] that both Barroso and the SNP were incorrect. Given the situation would be unprecedented and the absence of any express provision in existing EU treaties on how to handle the situation, he stressed the “obligations of good faith, sincere cooperation and solidarity” in the EU treaties, arguing that lengthy negotiations would have to take place but that these would do so prior to the date of independence and that they would lead to a treaty amendment rather than an accession treaty.[297]

Roland Vaubel, a member of the Advisory Council to the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, published a paper in May 2013 titled The Political Economy of Secession in the European Union, which stated that Scotland would remain a member of the European Union upon independence. The paper suggested that there would need to be a negotiation between the Scottish Government and the British Government on “how they wished to share the rights and obligations of the predecessor state”. Vaubel also stated that Barroso’s comments on the status of Scotland after independence “has no basis in the European treaties”.[298]

Professor Lars Bo Kaspersen, Head of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, said that he believed independence “could be a fairly quick transition”. He continued: “I’m sure that the European Union in general would strongly support Scottish membership and the same goes for NATO. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t think it was a good idea.”[299]

In November 2013, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated that an independent Scotland’s entry to the EU would require the consent of all the existing members and that an independent Scotland or other regions gaining independence would end up outside of the EU.[300]

The referendum rejected independence, leaving the matter theoretical.

The eight great empire of Europe

 Roman Empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Roman Empire
  • Imperium Romanum  (Latin)
  • Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR)
    Senate and People of Rome[n 1]
  • Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων  (Ancient Greek)
    Basileía Rhōmaíōn
Consul et lictores.png 27 BC – 395 AD (Undivided)
395 – 476 (Western)
395 – 1453 (Eastern)
Julius Nepos Tremissis.jpg

Constantine multiple CdM Beistegui 233.jpg

Denarius of Trajan Imperial Banner
The Roman Empire in 117 AD, at its greatest extent at the time of Trajan‘s death.[1]
Capital Rome (27–)
Mediolanum (286–402,Western)
Augusta Treverorum
Ravenna (402–476, Western)
Nicomedia (286–330,Eastern)
Constantinople (330–1453, Eastern)
Syracuse (663–669, Eastern)
Government Mixed, functionallyabsolute monarchy
 • 27 BC – AD 14 Augustus (first)
 • 98–117 Trajan
 • 284–305 Diocletian
 • 306–337 Constantine I
 • 379–395 Theodosius Ia
 • 474–480 Julius Neposb
 • 527–565 Justinian I
 • 976–1025 Basil II
 • 1449–1453 Constantine XIc
Legislature Senate
Historical era Classical era to Late Middle Ages
 • Final War of the
Roman Republic
32–30 BC
 • Empire established 30–2 BC
 • Constantinople
becomes capital
 • Final East West divide 395
 • Fall of the Western Roman Empire 476
 • Fourth Crusade 1202–1204
 • Reconquest of Constantinople 1261
 • Fall of Constantinople 29 May 1453
 • 25 BC[2][3] 2,750,000 km²(1,061,781 sq mi)
 • 117 AD [2][4] 5,000,000 km²(1,930,511 sq mi)
 • 390 AD [2] 4,400,000 km²(1,698,849 sq mi)
 • 25 BC[2][3] est. 56,800,000
     Density 20.7 /km²  (53.5 /sq mi)
Currency Sestertius,b Aureus,Solidus, Nomisma
Today part of
  • a The final emperor to rule over all of the Roman Empire’s territories before its conversion to a diarchy.
  • b Officially the final emperor of the Western empire.
  • c Last emperor of the Eastern (Byzantine) empire.
Warning: Value not specified for “common_name

The Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Rōmānum; Classical Latin: [ɪmˈpɛ.ri.ũː roːˈmaː.nũː] Koine and Medieval Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων,tr. Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn) was the post-Roman Republic period of theancient Roman civilization, characterized by government headed byemperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Africa and Asia. The city of Rome was the largest city in the worldc. 100 BC – c. 400 AD, with Constantinople (New Rome) becoming the largest around 500 AD,[5] and the Empire’s populace grew to an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants (roughly 20% of the world’s population at the time).[6] The 500-year-old republic which preceded it was severely destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict, during which Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and then assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and executions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son, over Mark Antony andCleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the annexation of Egypt. Octavian’s power was then unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus, effectively marking the end of the Roman Republic.

Norwegian Empire

Hereditary Realm of Norway
  • ᚴᚮᚿᚢᚿᚵᛋᚱᛁᚴᛁ ᚿᚮᚱᚡᛂᚵᚱ
  • Konungsríki Norvegr  (Old Norse)
  • Kongeriket Norge ∙ Noreg  (Norwegian)
Greater Norway 1027a – 1814b
872 – 1397

Flag used by rulers
from 9th – 10th century
Coat of arms used in
seals from the 13th century
Norway at its greatest extent, from 1263

Writing system:

Demonym Norwegian

Government Feudal monarchy
 • 872–932 Harald I first
 • 1299–1319 Haakon V last
Legislature Council of Realm
c. 1300 – 1536
Historical era Middle Ages
 • Established 872
 • Disestablished 8 May 1319
 • 1263c 2,322,755 km²(896,821 sq mi)
Currency Norwegian penning
995 – 1513
Today part of

The terms Norwegian Empire,[1] Hereditary Kingdom of Norway (Old Norse: Norégveldi, Bokmål: Norgesveldet, Nynorsk: Noregsveldet),Colonial Norway and Norwegian Realm refer to the Kingdom of Norway‘s peak of power at the 13th century after a long period of civil war before 1240. The empire was a loosely unified nation including the territory of modern-day Norway, modern-day Swedish territory of Jämtland,Herjedalen, Ranrike and Idre & Særna, as well as Norway’s overseas possessions which had been colonised by Norwegian seafarers for centuries before being annexed or incorporated into the kingdom as ‘tax territories’. To the North, Norway also bordered extensive tax territories on the mainland. As one of the original colonial powers of Europe, Norway, whose expansionalism starts from the very foundation of the Kingdom in 872, reached the peak of its power in the years between 1240 and 1319. During this period of about 450 years, Norway was an influential European power both intellectually and militarily. The Norwegians also established trade relations and fought battles in North America, the Middle East and North Africa.

Spanish Empire

Spanish Empire
Imperio Español
Monarquía universal Española
Monarquía Hispánica
Catholic Empire[1]

Plus Ultra (Latin)
“Further Beyond”
Marcha Real (Spanish)
“Royal March”
The areas of the world that at one time were territories of the Spanish Monarchy or Empire.
Capital Toledo (1492-1561)
Madrid (1561-1601)
Valladolid (1601-1606)
Madrid (from 1606)
Languages Spanish, Aragonese,Asturian, Basque,Catalan, Galician,Occitan, Quechua,Nahuatl, Maya,Tagalog
Religion Roman Catholicism
Government Absolute monarchy
 • 1469–1504 Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon
 • 1519 – 1556 Charles I
 • 1556–1598 Phillip II
 • Established 1492
 • Disestablished 1898
Today part of
  Portuguese Empire during the Iberian Union (1581–1640).
  Territories held before the Treaties of UtrechtBaden(1713–1714).
  Territories held before the Spanish American wars of independence (1808–1833).
  Territories held before the Spanish–American War(1898–1899).
  Territories granted independence during theDecolonisation of Africa (1956–1976).
  Current territories administered by Spain.
Warning: Value not specified for “common_name
Warning: Value not specified for “continent

The Spanish Empire (Spanish: Imperio español) was one of the largestempires in the world and became the first global empire in world history.[2] It reached the peak of its military, political and economic power under theSpanish Habsburgs,[3] through most of the 16th and 17th centuries, and its greatest territorial extent under the Bourbons in the 18th century, when it was the largest empire in the world. The Spanish Empire became theforemost global power of its time and was the first to be called the empire on which the sun never sets

British Empire

British Empire
All areas of the world that were ever part of the British Empire. Current British Overseas Territories have their names underlined in red.
All areas of the world that were ever part of the British Empire. Current British Overseas Territories have their names underlined in red.

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates,mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established byEngland between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power.[1] By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world’s population at the time,[2] and covered more than 13,000,000 sq mi (33,670,000 km2), almost a quarter of the Earth’s total land area.[3][4] As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase “the empire on which the sun never sets” was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Swedish Empire

Kingdom of Sweden
Konungariket Sverige
Flag Royal Coat of arms
The Swedish Empire at its height in 1658. Overseas possessions are not shown.
Swedish Empire and overseas possessions with the borders of today shown.
Capital Stockholm
Languages Swedish, Finnish,Norwegian, Estonian, Sami languages, Low German,Latin, Livonian, Latvian,Danish, Russian
Religion Official religion:
Recognized religion:
Eastern Orthodox
Government Absolute monarchy
 • 1611–1632 Gustav II Adolph (first)
 • 1720–1721 Frederick I (last)
Lord High Chancellora
 • 1612–1654 Axel Oxenstierna
 • 1654–1656 Erik Oxenstierna
 • 1660–1680 Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie
Legislature Riksdag
 • Council of the Realm Riksrådet
Historical era Early Modern
 • Established 1611
 • Disestablished 1721
 • 17th century est. 2,500,000
Currency Riksdaler
Today part of

As territory

As colonies

^a Office vacant from 1656 to 1660; replaced in 1680 with the office of “President of the Chancellery” as an absolute monarchy was established.
^b Bornholm and Trøndelag were relinquished by theTreaty of Roskilde in 1658. Neither territory was effectively controlled by Sweden. Both territories were restored two years later by the Treaty of Copenhagen in 1660.

The Swedish Empire (Swedish: stormaktstiden) refers to the Kingdom of Sweden’s territorial control of much of the Baltic region during the 17th and early 18th centuries, a time when Sweden was one of the great European powers.[1] The beginning of the Empire is usually taken as the reign ofGustavus Adolphus, who ascended the throne in 1611, and the end as the loss of territories in 1721 following the Great Northern War. In Swedishhistory, the period is referred to as stormaktstiden, literally meaning “the Great Power era”.[1]

After the death of Gustavus Adolphus in 1632, the empire was, over lengthy periods, controlled by part of the high nobility, most prominently theOxenstierna family, acting as tutors for minor regents. The interests of the high nobility contrasted with the uniformity policy (i.e., the upholding of the traditional equality in status of the Swedish estates favoured by the kings and peasantry). In territories acquired during the periods of de facto noble rule, serfdom was not abolished, and there was also a trend to set up respective estates in Sweden proper. The Great Reduction of 1680 put an end to these efforts of the nobility and required them to return estates once gained from the crown to the king. Serfdom, however, remained in force in the dominions acquired in the Holy Roman Empire and in Swedish Estonia, where a consequent application of the uniformity policy was hindered by the treaties by which they were gained.

After the victories in the Thirty Years’ War, the climax of the great power era was reached during the Second Northern War, when the primary adversary Denmark was neutralized by the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. However, in the further course of this war as well as in the subsequent Scanian War, Sweden was able to maintain her empire only with support of her closest ally, France.[2] Charles XI of Sweden consolidated the empire and ensured a period of peace, before Russia, Saxony and Denmark started a concerted attack on his successor, Charles XII. After initial Swedish victories, Charles secured the empire for some time in the Peace of Travendal (1700) and theTreaty of Altranstädt (1706), before the Battle of Poltava (1709) finally brought the great power era of Sweden to an end.

First French Empire

French Empire[1]Note 1
Empire Français

Flag Imperial Coat of arms
Veillons au salut de l’Empire“‘
Chant du départ” (de facto)[2][3]
(English: “Song of the Departure”)
Marche consulaire
(English: “March of the Consulate”)

The First French Empire at its greatest extent in 1812.[4]

  French Empire

The French Empire and sphere of influence in 1812.

  French Empire in 1804
  French acquisitions after 1804
  French sphere of influence
Capital Paris
Languages French (official)
Breton, Basque, Occitan,Picard, Franco-Provençal,Dutch, Serbo-Croat,Catalan, Italian
Religion Roman Catholicism,Lutheranism, Calvinism,Judaism, Laïcité
Government Enlightened Absolutism
 • 1804–1814/1815 Napoleon I
 • 1815 Napoleon IINote 2
Legislature Parliament
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house Corps législatif
Historical era Napoleonic Wars
 • Constitution adopted 18 May 1804
 • Coronation ofNapoleon I 2 December 1804
 • Treaty of Tilsit 7 July 1807
 • Invasion of Russia 24 June 1812
 • Treaty of Fontainebleau 11 April 1814
 • Hundred Days 20 March – 7 July 1815
 • 1812 [4] 860,000 km²(332,048 sq mi)
 • 1812 est. 44,000,000
     Density 51.2 /km²  (132.5 /sq mi)
Currency French franc

Preceded by

Succeeded by
French First Republic
Kingdom of Holland
Ligurian Republic
Kingdom of France
Principality of the Netherlands
Today part of

The First French Empire[1] (French: Empire Français)Note 1, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century.

On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was granted the title Emperor of the French(L’Empereur des Français, pronounced: [lɑ̃.pʁœʁ dɛ fʁɑ̃.sɛ]) by the FrenchSénat and was crowned on 2 December 1804,[5] ending the period of theFrench Consulate and of the French First Republic. The French Empire won early military victories in the War of the Third Coalition against Austria,Prussia, Russia, Portugal, and allied nations, notably at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805[6] and, during the War of the Fourth Coalition, at theBattle of Friedland[7] in 1807.

A series of wars, known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars, extended French influence over much of Western Europe and into Poland. At its height in 1812, the French Empire had 130 departments, ruled over 70 million subjects, maintained an extensive military presence in Germany,Italy, Spain, and the Duchy of Warsaw, and could count Prussia and Austria as nominal allies.[8] Early French victories exported many ideological features of the French Revolution throughout Europe: the introduction of the Napoleonic Code throughout the continent increased legal equality, established jury systems and legalised divorce, and seigneurial dues and seigneurial justice were abolished, as were aristocratic privileges in all places with the exception of Poland.

talian Empire

Italian Empire
  Kingdom of Italy  Colonies of Italy in 1939   Territories occupied during World War II
  Kingdom of Italy
  Colonies of Italy in 1939
  Territories occupied during World War II

The Italian Empire (Italian: Impero Italiano) comprised the colonies,protectorates, concessions, dependencies and trust territories of the Kingdom of Italy and, after 1946, the Italian Republic. The genesis of the Italian colonial empire was the purchase, in 1869, by a commercial company of the coastal town of Assab on the Red Sea. This was taken over by the Italian government in 1882, becoming Italy’s first overseas territory. Over the next two decades the pace of European acquisitions in Africa increased, causing the so-called “Scramble for Africa“. By the start of the First World War in 1914, Italy had acquired in Africa alone a colony on the Red Sea coast (Eritrea), a large protectorate in Somalia and administrative authority in formerly Turkish Libya. Outside of Africa, Italy possessed a small concession in Tientsin in China and the Dodecanese Islands off the coast of Turkey.

From early in the “scramble”, Italy had designs on the Ethiopian Empire, but was twice defeated in the 19th century: first at the Battle of Dogali in 1887 and then in first invasion of Ethiopia in 1895–96. During the First World War, Italy occupied southern Albania to prevent if from falling to Austria-Hungary. In 1917, it established a protectorate over Albania, which remained in place until 1920.[1] The Fascist government that came to power with Benito Mussolini in 1922 sought to increase the size of the Italian empire and to satisfy the claims of Italian irredentists. In 1935–36, in its second invasion of Ethiopia Italy was successful and it merged its new conquest with its older east African colonies to create Italian East Africa. In 1939, Italy invaded Albania and incorporated it into the Fascist state. During the Second World War (1939–45), Italy made several conquests and annexations, but was forced in the final peace to abandon all its colonies and protectorates. It was granted a United Nations trust to administer former Italian Somaliland in 1950. When Somalia became independent in 1960, Italy’s eight-decade experience with colonialism ended.


The Bexit from European Union

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Brexit (/ˈbrɛksɪtˈbrɛɡzɪt/[1]; a portmanteau of “British” and “exit”) is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). Following a referendum held on 23 June 2016 in which 51.9 per cent of those voting supported leaving the EU, the Government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, starting a two-year process which was due to conclude with the UK’s exit on 29 March 2019 – a deadline which has since been extended to 31 October 2019.[2]

Withdrawal from the EU has been advocated by both left-wing and right-wingEurosceptics, while pro-Europeanists, who also span the political spectrum, have advocated continued membership and maintaining the customs union and single market. The UK joined the European Communities (EC) in 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath, with continued membership endorsed by a referendum in 1975. In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the EC was advocated mainly by the political left, with the Labour Party‘s 1983 election manifesto advocating full withdrawal. From the 1990s, opposition to further European integration came mainly from the right, and divisions within the Conservative Party led to rebellion over the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The growth of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the early 2010s and the influence of the cross-party People’s Pledge campaign have been described as influential in bringing about a referendum. The Conservative Prime MinisterDavid Cameron, pledged during the campaign for the 2015 UK General Electionto hold a new referendum—a promise which he fulfilled in 2016 following pressure from the Eurosceptic wing of his party. Cameron, who had campaigned to remain, resigned after the result and was succeeded by Theresa May, his former Home Secretary. She called a snap general election less than a year later, but lost her overall majority. Her minority government is supported in key votes by the Democratic Unionist Party.

On 29 March 2017, the Government of the United Kingdom invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. May announced the government’s intention not to seek permanent membership of the European single market or the EU customs union after leaving the EU and promised to repeal the European Communities Act of 1972 and incorporate existing European Union law into UK domestic lawNegotiations with the EU officially started in June 2017. In November 2018, the Draft Withdrawal Agreement, negotiated between the UK Government and the EU, was published. The House of Commonsvoted against the agreement by a margin of 432 to 202 (the largest parliamentary defeat in history for a sitting UK government) on 15 January 2019, and again on 12 March with a margin of 391 to 242 against the agreement. On 14 March 2019, the House of Commons voted for the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to ask the EU for such an extension of the period allowed for the negotiation. Members from across the House of Commons rejected the agreement with the leadership of the Labour Party stating in public debates in the House of Commons that any deal must maintain a customs union and single market, and with a large percentage of its members rejecting the Irish backstop as it is currently drafted in the EU withdrawal agreement. Opponents of the EU Withdrawal Agreement cited concerns that the agreement as drafted could plunge Northern Ireland into a conflict and spark a return of The Troubles as a result of Brexit.

The broad consensus among economists is that Brexit will likely reduce the UK’s real per capita income in the medium term and long term, and that the Brexit referendum itself damaged the economy.[a] Studies on effects since the referendum show a reduction in GDP, trade and investment, as well as household losses from increased inflation. Brexit is likely to reduce immigration from European Economic Area (EEA) countries to the UK, and poses challenges for UK higher education and academic research. As of March 2019, the size of the “divorce bill“—the UK’s inheritance of existing EU trade agreements—and relations with Ireland and other EU member states remains uncertain. The precise impact on the UK depends on whether the process will be a “hard” or “soft” Brexit.

Three reasons why British leave the union

2. Politically / NWO
3. Prophecy

1, economy

As the largest economy in the union the British the union depends on Britain to prop up the economy thus keeping it stable with out Britain the rest of the Union will have to pick up the load especially Germany which is not doing to good right now. The British pay a lot of taxes to the union for other countries but receive little in return for its efforts. The eu was designed so that trade only take place in the union and prevent other products from coming in this cause company not to improve on their products keeping the country backwards.

It’s difficult to explain how the eu work, who in charge is a mystery and if a law is passed by the eu it cannot be repeal these three laws can apply to all countries that y all could leave the union.

For more on this issue watch brexite the movie.

2. Politically

The NWO the plan of the elite is to create 10 Union and established a leader who will report to the world president of the world now when you look at the map which is most possible correct Britain is not part of the EU it’s part of the BCN British commonwealth nation. As part of the first Union it will be a big blow in fighting the establishment but the EU will remain.

3. Prophecy

Europe in history has generally to enemies the barbarian to the north and Islam to the south. The Scandinavian and great Britain are the barbarian of the North and in history this region has always apposed main land Europe. Rome fall to the barbarian the Viking cause a lot of problems Rome it was King Henry the 8 which divided the church in half and even though Britain is in the EU it has never accepted the euro. In looking at the Daniel prophecy we are in the 7 Kingdom / beast which is now the EU. the Roman Empire stretch all the way to Britain but when Daniel had the vision Britain was not a part of Rome but there could be more closer ties to Turkey. if this happens especially if turkey join the union this is the two big toes of the 8 Kingdom. I think this could happen because the EU need another Britain.

Before the Roman Empire collapsed it split into two West and east the EU is the western Rome and the Ottoman Empire was the eastern Rome.

We are now in the two legs and this has continued through history

Catholic West .
Orthodox East.

Christianity West.
Islam East.

Democratic West the clay
Dictatorship east the iron

Due to the history the area around the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East are very important geography and who have power in this area automatically become important because they have the power to change history or as I like to say ( his story)

There are 1.2 Christian. There are 1.2 Islam
There are 1.2 communist

The East West divide will always happen

The EU the 7 Kingdom will last for a short time them the Antichrist come and ten nation give their power to it and up roots there Egypt Libya and Ethiopia they will rule until the end.


The UK was not a signatory to the Treaty of Rome which created the EEC in 1957. The country subsequently applied to join the organization in 1963 and again in 1967, but both applications were vetoed by the then President of France, Charles de Gaulle, ostensibly because “a number of aspects of Britain’s economy, from working practices to agriculture” [had] “made Britain incompatible with Europe.”

Once de Gaulle had relinquished the French presidency, the UK made a third application for membership, which was successful. On 1 January 1973 the United Kingdom joined the EEC, then commonly referred to in the UK as the Common Market. This was done under the Conservative government of Edward Heath.[3] The opposition Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, contested the October 1974 general election with a commitment to renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership of the EEC and then hold a referendum on whether to remain in the EEC on the new terms.

United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum, 1975

The Government has announced the results of the renegotiation of the United Kingdom’s terms of membership of the European Community.

Do you think the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (the Common Market)?

Votes  %
Yes check.svg Yes 17,378,581 67.23%
X mark.svg No 8,470,073 32.77%
Valid votes 25,848,654 99.79%
Invalid or blank votes 54,540 0.21%
Total votes 25,903,194 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 40,084,594 64.62%
Results by county
United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum, 1975.svg
  Yes 60–62.5%
  Yes 57.5–60%
  Yes 55–57.5%
  Yes 52.5–55%
  Yes 50–52.5%
  No 50–52.5%
  No 52.5–55%
  No 55–57.5%
  No 57.5–60%
  No 60–62.5%
  No 62.5–65%
  No 65–67.5%
  No 67.5–70%
  No 70–72.5%
  No 72.5–75%
  No >75%
Referendum held: 5 June 1975

The United Kingdom EC referendum of 1975, also known as theCommon Market referendum and EEC membership referendum was a referendum held on 5 June 1975 in the United Kingdom to gauge support for the country’s continued membership of the European Communities (EC), often known as the Common Market at the time, which it had entered in 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath. Labour‘s manifesto for the October 1974 general election promised that the people would decide “through the ballot box” whether to remain in the EEC. The electorate expressed significant support for EEC membership, with 67% in favour on a 65% turnout. This was the first ever referendum held throughout the entire United Kingdom; previously, other referendums had been arranged only in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Greater London and individual towns. It remained the only UK-wide referendum until the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum, 2011.

The February 1974 general election yielded a Labour minority government, which then won a majority in the October 1974 general election. Labour pledged in its February 1974 manifesto to renegotiate the terms of British accession to the EEC, and then to consult the public on whether Britain should stay in the EEC on the new terms, if they were acceptable to the government. The Labour Party had historically feared the consequences of EEC membership, such as the large differentials between the high price of food under the Common Agricultural Policy and the low prices prevalent in Commonwealth markets, as well as the loss of economic sovereignty and the freedom of governments to engage in socialist industrial policies, and party leaders stated their opinion that the Conservatives had negotiated unfavourable terms for Britain. The EEC heads of government agreed to a deal in Dublin on 11 March 1975; Wilson declared, “I believe that our renegotiation objectives have been substantially though not completely achieved”, and said that the government would recommend a vote in favour of continued membership. On 9 April, the House of Commons voted 396 to 170 to continue within the Common Market on the new terms. In tandem with these developments, the government drafted a Referendum Bill, to be moved in case of a successful renegotiation.

The referendum debate was an unusual time in British politics. During the campaign, the Labour Cabinet was split and its members campaigned on each side of the question, a rare breach of Cabinet collective responsibility. Most votes in the House of Commons in preparation for the referendum were only carried thanks to opposition support, and the Government faced several defeats on technical issues such as election counts. Finally, although the Government declared in advance that it would comply with to the result, the referendum itself was not binding upon the government in the strict legal sense, due to the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. This principle would itself come into question as a consequence of EEC membership in theFactortame litigation.


Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson

The EEC at the time of the referendum was made up of nine countries

In 1952, when the European Coal and Steel Community was instituted, the United Kingdom decided not to become a member. The UK was still absent when the Treaty of Rome was signed, creating the European Economic Community (the Common Market). However, in the late 1950s the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan dramatically changed its attitude and appointed Edward Heath, later prime minister, to submit an application and lead negotiations for Britain to enter the Common Market. But at a meeting in January 1963 the French president Charles de Gaulle rebuffed and vetoed Macmillan’s request to join the Common Market. Despite the veto, Britain restarted talks with the EEC in 1967; and in April 1970, during the 1970 general election campaign, Edward Heath said that further European integration would not happen “except with the full-hearted consent of the Parliaments and peoples of the new member countries”. Heath became Prime Minister, and personally led many of the negotiations: he struck up a friendship with the new French president Georges Pompidou who oversaw the lifting of the veto, which paved the way for UK membership. No referendum was held when Britain agreed to an accession treaty on 22 January 1972 together with the EEC states, Denmark, and Ireland, or when the European Communities Act 1972 went through the legislative process. Britain joined the European Economic Community on 1 January 1973, along with Denmark and Ireland. This later became the European Union.

The support of the Conservative Party, under Leader of the OppositionMargaret Thatcher, was essential to the passage of the Government’s European business in the House of Commons.

Throughout this period, the Labour Party was divided, both on the substantive issue of EEC accession and on the question of whether accession ought to be approved by referendum. In 1971, pro-Market figures like Roy Jenkins, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, said a Labour government would have agreed to the terms of accession secured by the Conservatives. However, the National Executive Committee and the Labour Party Conference disapproved of the terms. In April 1972, the anti-Market Conservative MP Neil Marten tabled an amendment to the European Communities Bill which called for a consultative referendum on entry. Labour had previously opposed a referendum, but the Shadow Cabinet decided to support Marten’s amendment. Jenkins resigned as Deputy Leader in opposition to the decision, and many Labour MPs abstained on the division.

At the February 1974 general election, Labour’s manifesto promised renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership, to be followed by a consultative referendum on continued membership under the new terms if they were acceptable. In the October 1974 manifesto, this was changed to the promise that Labour would “give the British people the final say, which will be binding on the Government – through the ballot box – on whether we accept the terms and stay in or reject the terms and come out.” This could be interpreted as including the option of an election in 1975; however, Labour won a working majority, and had no need of another general election.

The government introduced a bill which became the Referendum Act 1975. Prior to this bill’s passing there was no procedure or legislation within the United Kingdom for holding any such plebiscite. The vote, the only nationwide plebiscite to be held in the UK during the 20th century, was of constitutional significance. Referendums had been widely opposed in the past on the grounds that they violated the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. The first major referendum to be held in any part of the UK had been the Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum, 1973. The government favoured a single national count of votes; the Liberal Party favoured individual counts in each parliamentary constituency; however, the majority in the House of Commons voted for counts by administrative regions (the post 1974 county council areas). The Act did not specify any super-majority of “Yes” votes for approval of the terms; a simple majority would suffice to win the vote.

Referendum question

The question to be asked to the British electorate that was set out within the legislation was:
The Government has announced the results of the renegotiation of the United Kingdom’s terms of membership of the European Community.

Do you think that the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (the Common Market)?

permitting a simple YES / NO answer.
The referendum took place 25 years before the passing of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 by the then Labour Government of Tony Blair which set into British law a general procedure for the holding of a UK-wide referendum with the creation of the Electoral Commission, which now oversees such votes.

Party support

The referendum was called in April 1975. Since Prime Minister Harold Wilson‘s cabinet was split between supporters and opponents of the Common Market, and since members of each side held their views strongly, he made the decision, unprecedented outside coalition government, to suspend the constitutional convention of Cabinet collective responsibility. Cabinet members would be allowed to publicly campaign against each other. In total, seven of the twenty-three members of the cabinet opposed EEC membership.[8] Wilson’s solution was that ministers speaking from the despatch box would reflect government policy, i.e. support for EEC membership, but that they would be allowed to speak freely otherwise. This compromise avoided mass dismissals of Cabinet ministers, with only Eric Heffer among all government ministers being obliged to resign, due to his speaking against EEC membership in the House of Commons.

Yes campaign (Britain In Europe)

Logo of the Keep Britain in Europe campaign.

The “Yes” campaign was officially supported by Wilson’s Government and the majority of his cabinet, including the holders of the three other Great Offices of State: Denis Healey, the Chancellor of the Exchequer; James Callaghan, the Foreign Secretary; and Roy Jenkins, the Home Secretary. It was also supported by the majority of the Conservative Party including its newly elected leader Margaret Thatcher—249 of 275 party members in Parliament supported staying in Europe in a free vote in April 1975 the Liberal Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland and the Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party.

No campaign (Out into the World)

Logo of the Out into the World campaign.

Tony Benn, Secretary of State for Industry, was one of the senior figures in the No campaign.

The influential Conservative Edward du Cann said that “the Labour party is hopelessly and irrevocably split and muddled over this issue”. The “No” campaign included the left wing of the Labour Party, including the cabinet ministers Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Peter Shore, Eric Varley, and Barbara Castle who during the campaign famously said “They lured us into the market with the mirage of the market miracle”. Some Labour “No” supporters, including Varley, were on the right wing of the party, but most were from the left. The No campaign also included a large number of Labour backbenchers; upon the division on a pro-EEC White Paper about the renegotiation, 148 Labour MPs opposed their own government’s measure, whereas only 138 supported it and 32 abstained.

“Many Conservatives feel the European Community is not good for Britain … The Conservative party is divided on it too”, du Cann—head of the Conservatives’ 1922 Committee—added, although there were far fewer Eurosceptic figures in the Parliamentary Conservative Party in 1975 than there would be during later debates on Europe, such as the accession to the Maastricht Treaty. Most of the Ulster Unionist Party were for No in the referendum, most prominently the former Conservative minister Enoch Powell, who after Benn was the second most prominent anti-Marketeer in the campaign. Other parties supporting the “No” campaign included the Democratic Unionist Party, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, and parties outside Parliament including the National Front and the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Official party positions

Conservative and Liberal Party conferences consistently supported EEC membership for several years up to 1975. At a Labour Party conference on 26 April 1975, the Labour membership rejected continuing EEC membership by almost a 2:1 margin. Tony Benn said “We have had a conference and the decision is clear … It is very clear that there now must be a move for the Labour Party to campaign.” The majority of the Labour Party leadership was strongly for continuing membership, and the margin of the party vote was not a surprise, since only seven of forty-six trade unions present at the conference supported EEC membership. Prior to the conference, the party had decided that if the conference voted by a margin of 2:1 or more in favour of a particular option, it would then support that position in the referendum campaign. Otherwise, the “party machine” would remain neutral. Therefore, the Labour Party itself did not campaign on either side.

The campaign, funding and media support

The government distributed pamphlets to every household in Britain written by the official Yes and No campaigns, together with its own pamphlet which argued in support of EEC membership.[11] According to this pamphlet, “the most important (issues in the renegotiation) were FOOD and MONEY and JOBS”.

During the campaign, almost the entirety of the mainstream national British press supported the “Yes” campaign. The left-wing Morning Star was the only notable national daily to back the “No” campaign. Television broadcasts were used by both campaigns, like party political broadcasts during general elections. They were broadcast simultaneously on all three terrestrial channels: BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV. They attracted audiences of up to 20 million viewers. The “Yes” campaign advertisements were thought to be much more effective, showing their speakers listening to and answering people’s concerns, while the “No” campaign’s broadcasts featured speakers reading from an autocue.

The “Yes” campaign enjoyed much more funding, thanks to the support of many British businesses and the Confederation of British Industry. According to the treasurer of the “Yes” campaign, Alastair McAlpine, “The banks and big industrial companies put in very large sums of money”. At the time, business was “overwhelmingly pro-European”, and Harold Wilson met several prominent industrialists to elicit support. It was common for pro-Europeans to convene across party and ideological lines with businessmen. John Mills, the national agent of the “No” campaign, recalled: “We were operating on a shoe-string compared to the Rolls Royce operation on the other side”. However, it was also the case that many civil society groups supported the “Yes” campaign, including the National Farmers Union and some trade unions.

Much of the “Yes” campaign focused on the credentials of its opponents. According to Alastair McAlpine, “The whole thrust of our campaign was to depict the anti-Marketeers as unreliable people – dangerous people who would lead you down the wrong path … It wasn’t so much that it was sensible to stay in, but that anybody who proposed that we came out was off their rocker or virtually Marxist.”. Tony Benn controversially claimed: “Half a million jobs lost in Britain and a huge increase in food prices as a direct result of our entry into the Common Market”, using his position as Industry Minister as an authority. His claims were ridiculed by the “Yes” campaign and ministers; the Daily Mirror labelled Benn the “Minister of Fear”, and other newspapers were similarly derisive. Ultimately, the “No” campaign lacked a popular, moderate figure to play the public leadership role for their campaign that Jenkins and Wilson fulfilled in the “Yes” campaign.

Counting areas

The referendum was held nationally across all four countries of the United Kingdom as a single majority vote in 68 counting areas under the provisions of the Referendum Act 1975 to which the then administrative counties of England, Wales, and Scotland were used with Northern Ireland as a single counting area.

The following table shows the breakdown of the voting areas for the referendum within the United Kingdom.

Country Counting areas
 United Kingdom UK national count;
68 counting areas
Constituent countries Counting areas
 England 47 counting areas
Northern Ireland Single counting area
 Scotland 12 counting areas
 Wales 8 counting areas

UK Result

Results by nation.

Voting in the referendum took place across the United Kingdom on Thursday 5 June between 0700 and 2200 BST. All counting areas started their counts the following day on Friday 6 June at 0900 BST. All areas within the United Kingdom returned “Yes” votes, except the Scottish regions of the Shetland Islands and the Western Isles.

In total, over two-thirds of voters supported continued EEC membership. 67.2 percent voted Yes and 32.8 percent voted No. At council level, support for EEC membership was positively correlated with support for the Conservative Party and with average income. In contrast, poorer areas that supported Labour gave less support to the question. Approval was well above 60% in almost every council area in England and Wales, with the strongly Labour-supporting Mid Glamorgan being the exception. Scotland and Northern Ireland gave less support to the question than the British average. Once the voting areas had declared, their results were then relayed to the Chief Counting Officer Sir Philip Allen who later declared the final result.

United Kingdom European Community (Common Market) Membership Referendum 1975
Choice Votes  %
Referendum passed Yes 17,378,581 67.2
No 8,470,073 32.8
Valid votes 25,848,654 99.79
Invalid or blank votes 54,540 0.59
Total votes 25,903,194 100.00
17,378,581 (67.2%)
8,470,073 (32.8%)

Results by counting areas


Constituent country Yes votes No votes Yes % No % Turnout %
 England 14,918,009 6,812,012 68.70 31.30 64.6
County Yes votes No votes Yes % No % Turnout %
Avon 310,145 147,024 67.8 32.2 68.7
Bedfordshire 154,338 67,969 69.4 30.6 67.9
Berkshire 215,184 81,221 72.6 27.4 66.4
Buckinghamshire 180,512 62,578 74.3 25.7 69.5
Cambridgeshire 177,789 62,143 74.1 25.9 62.9
Cheshire 290,714 123,839 70.1 29.9 65.5
Cleveland 158,982 77,079 67.3 32.7 60.2
Cornwall 137,828 63,478 68.5 31.5 66.8
Cumbria 162,545 63,564 71.9 28.1 64.8
Derbyshire 286,614 131,457 68.6 31.4 64.1
Devon 334,244 129,179 72.1 27.9 68.0
Dorset 217,432 78,239 73.5 26.4 68.3
Durham 175,284 97,724 64.2 35.8 61.5
Essex 463,505 222,085 67.7 32.4 67.7
Gloucestershire 170,931 67,465 71.7 28.3 68.4
Greater London 2,201,031 1,100,185 66.7 33.3 60.8
Greater Manchester 797,316 439,191 64.5 35.5 64.1
Hampshire 484,302 197,761 71.0 29.0 68.0
Hereford and Worcester 203,128 75,779 72.8 27.2 66.4
Hertfordshire 326,943 137,226 70.4 29.6 70.2
Humberside 257,826 122,199 67.8 32.2 62.4
Isle of Wight 40,837 17,375 71.2 29.8 67.5
Isles of Scilly 802 275 74.5 25.5 75.0
Kent 493,407 207,358 70.4 29.6 67.4
Lancashire 455,170 208,821 68.6 31.4 67.2
Leicestershire 291,500 106,004 73.3 26.7 66.4
Lincolnshire 180,603 61,011 74.7 25.3 63.7
Merseyside 465,625 252,712 64.8 35.2 62.7
Norfolk 218,883 93,198 70.1 29.9 63.8
Northamptonshire 162,803 71,322 69.5 30.5 65.0
Northumberland 95,980 42,645 69.2 30.8 65.0
Nottinghamshire 297,191 147,461 66.8 33.2 67.7
Oxfordshire 179,938 64,643 73.6 26.4 67.7
Salop 113,044 43,329 72.3 27.7 62.0
Somerset 138,830 60,631 69.6 30.4 67.7
Staffordshire 306,518 148,252 67.4 32.6 64.3
Suffolk 187,484 72,251 72.2 27.8 64.9
Surrey 386,369 120,576 76.2 23.8 70.1
East Sussex 249,780 86,198 74.3 25.7 68.6
West Sussex 242,890 73,928 76.2 23.8 68.6
Tyne and Wear 344,069 202,511 62.9 37.1 62.7
Warwickshire 156,303 67,221 69.9 30.1 68.0
West Midlands 801,913 429,207 65.1 34.9 62.5
Wiltshire 172,791 68,113 71.7 28.3 67.8
North Yorkshire 234,040 72,805 76.3 23.7 64.3
South Yorkshire 377,916 217,792 63.4 36.6 62.4
West Yorkshire 616,730 326,993 65.4 34.6 63.6

Northern Ireland

Constituent country Turnout % Yes votes No votes Yes % No % Turnout %
Northern Ireland 47.4 259,251 237,911 52.10 47.90 47.5


Constituent country Yes votes No votes Yes % No % Turnout %
 Scotland 1,332,186 948,039 58.40 41.60 61.7
County Yes votes No votes Yes % No % Turnout %
Borders 34,092 13,053 72.3 27.7 63.2
Central 71,986 48,568 59.7 40.3 64.1
Dumfries and Galloway 42,608 19,856 68.2 31.8 61.5
Fife 84,239 65,260 56.3 43.7 63.3
Grampian 108,520 78,071 58.2 41.8 57.4
Highland 40,802 33,979 54.6 45.4 58.7
Lothian 208,133 141,456 59.5 40.5 63.6
Orkney 3,911 2,419 61.8 38.2 48.2
Shetland 2,815 3,631 43.7 56.3 47.1
Strathclyde 625,939 459,073 57.7 42.3 61.7
Tayside 105,728 74,567 58.6 41.4 63.8
Western Isles 3,393 8,106 29.5 70.5 50.1


Constituent country Yes votes No votes Yes % No % Turnout %
 Wales 869,135 472,071 64.80 35.20 66.7
County Yes votes No votes Yes % No % Turnout %
Clwyd 123,980 55,424 69.1 30.9 65.8
Dyfed 109,184 52,264 67.6 32.4 67.5
Mid Glamorgan 147,348 111,672 56.9 43.1 66.6
South Glamorgan 127,932 56,224 69.5 30.5 66.7
West Glamorgan 112,989 70,316 61.6 38.4 67.4
Gwent 132,557 80,992 62.1 37.9 68.2
Gwynedd 76,421 31,807 70.6 29.4 64.3
Powys 38,724 13,372 74.3 25.7 67.9

TV coverage

Both the BBC and ITV provided coverage throughout the following day and the BBC programme was presented by David Dimbleby and David Butler. There were several programmes throughout the day. Part of the coverage was repeated to mark the 30th anniversary of the referendum in June 2005, and was also shown to mark the 40th anniversary in June 2015 on the BBC Parliament channel and will be shown again to mark the 41st anniversary ahead of the 2016 EU Referendum.

Reactions and consequences

Prime Minister Harold Wilson called the vote a “historic decision”. Roy Jenkins said “It puts the uncertainty behind us. It commits Britain to Europe; it commits us to playing an active, constructive and enthusiastic role in it.” Tony Benn said “When the British people speak everyone, including members of Parliament, should tremble before their decision and that’s certainly the spirit with which I accept the result of the referendum.”

The result strengthened Harold Wilson’s tactical position, by securing a further post-election public expression of support for his policies. According to Cook and Francis (1979), “The left of his party had been appeased by the holding of a referendum, the right by its result”.[2] Following the result, the Labour Party and British trade unions themselves joined European institutions, such as the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, to which they had been reluctant to commit before public approval of EEC membership.

In the House of Commons, the issue of Europe had been effectively settled for two years, until the debate about direct elections to the European Parliament began in 1977.

Subsequent developments

The opposition Labour Party campaigned in the 1983 general election on a commitment to withdraw from the EEC. It was heavily defeated as the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher was re-elected. The Labour Party subsequently changed its policy.

As a result of the Maastricht Treaty, the EEC became the European Union on 1 November 1993. Starting as a purely economic union the organization has evolved into a political union. The name change has reflected this.

Ahead of the adoption of the Maastricht treaty, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn thought the treaty would not take EU member states in the direction of democratic United States of America, saying that European Central Bank, which is independent of sovereign governments’ economic policies, would undermine member countries’ democracy. Corbyn argued that ECB’s first policy priority is to maintain price stability, and ECB is staffed by bankers, adding that the creation of the euro would impose a “bankers’ Europe” on EU members.

The Referendum Party was formed in 1994 by Sir James Goldsmith to contest the 1997 general election on a platform of providing a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. It fielded candidates in 547 constituencies at that election and won 810,860 votes, 2.6% of total votes cast. It failed to win a single parliamentary seat as its vote was spread out, losing its deposit (funded by Goldsmith) in 505 constituencies.

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a Eurosceptic political party, was also formed in the early 1990s. It achieved third place in the UK during the 2004 European elections, second place in the 2009 European elections and first place in the 2014 European elections, with 27.5% of the total vote. This was the first time since the 1910 general electionthat any party other than the Labour or Conservative parties had taken the largest share of the vote in a nationwide election.

In the 2015 general election UKIP took 12.6% of the total vote and won a single seat, the first they had taken in a general election.

United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016

United Kingdom European Union Membership Referendum
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
Location United Kingdom and Gibraltar
Date 23 June 2016 (in 7 days)
Results by voting areas
United Kingdom EU referendum 2016 area results.svg

The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, also known as the EU referendum or Brexit referendum within the United Kingdom, is a plebiscite that is scheduled to take place in theUnited Kingdom and Gibraltar[1] on 23 June 2016. Membership of theEuropean Union has been a topic of debate in the United Kingdom since before the country joined the European Economic Community(EEC, or the “Common Market”), as it was known then, in 1973.

In accordance with a Conservative Party manifesto commitment, the legal basis for a referendum was established by the passage of theEuropean Union Referendum Act 2015 by the UK Parliament. It will be the second time the British electorate has been asked to vote on the issue of European Union membership: the first vote was held in 1975, on EEC membership. Continued membership was approved in that referendum by 67% of voters, but the nature of the EU has changed substantially since then and the result of this referendum is expected to be significantly closer.

Those who favour a British withdrawal from the European Union – commonly referred to as a Brexit (a portmanteau of British and exit) argue that the EU has a democratic deficit and that being a member undermines national sovereignty, while those who favour membership argue that in a world with many supranational organisations any theoretical loss of sovereignty is compensated by the benefits of EU membership. Those who want to leave the EU argue that it would: allow the UK to better control immigration, thus reducing pressure on public services, housing and jobs; save billions in EU membership fees; allow the UK to make its own trade deals; and free the UK from EU regulations and bureaucracy that they see as needless and costly. Those who want to remain argue that leaving the EU would: risk the UK’s prosperity; diminish its influence over world affairs; jeopardise national security by reducing access to common European criminal databases; and result in trade barriers between the UK and the EU. In particular, they argue that leaving the EU would lead to job losses, delays in investment coming to the UK and risks to large and small business.

A Remain vote is supported by most economists, the leaders of the USA and the rest of the EU countries, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the G20, the IMF, and all living past and present Prime Ministers. The Leave campaign is supported by Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove, UKIP, the UK fishing industry and James Dyson, the founder of Dyson.


The European Economic Community (EEC) was formed in 1957.[7] The United Kingdom (UK) first applied to join in 1961, but this was vetoed by France. A later application was successful and the UK joined in 1973; a referendum two years later on continuing membership resulted in 67% approval. Political integration gained greater focus when the Maastricht Treatyestablished the European Union (EU) in 1993, which incorporated (and after the Treaty of Lisbon, succeeded) the EEC.

In his 2015 election campaign, David Cameron promised to renegotiate the EU membership and later hold a referendum

In January 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron promised that, should his Conservative Party win a parliamentary majority at the 2015 general election, the UK Government would negotiate more favourable arrangements for continuing British membership of the EU, before holding a referendum as to whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU. In May 2013, the Conservative Party published a draft EU Referendum Bill and outlined their plans for renegotiation and then an In-Out vote if returned to office in 2015. The draft Bill stated that the referendum must be held no later than 31 December 2017.

The draft legislation was initially taken forward as a Private Member’s Bill by Conservative MP James Wharton. The Bill’s First Reading in the House of Commons took place on 19 June 2013. Cameron was said by a spokesperson to be “very pleased” and would ensure the Bill was given “the full support of the Conservative Party”.

Regarding the ability of the Bill to bind the UK Government in the 2015–20 Parliament to holding such a referendum, a parliamentary research paper noted that:

The Bill simply provides for a referendum on continued EU membership by the end of December 2017 and does not otherwise specify the timing, other than requiring the Secretary of State to bring forward orders by the end of 2016. […] If no party obtained a majority at the [next general election due in 2015], there might be some uncertainty about the passage of the orders in the next Parliament.

The Bill received its Second Reading on 5 July 2013, passing by 304 votes to none after almost all Labour MPs and all Liberal Democrat MPs abstained, cleared the Commons in November 2013, and was then introduced to the House of Lords in December 2013, where members voted to block the Bill.

Conservative MP Bob Neill then introduced an Alternative Referendum Bill to the Commons.After a debate on 17 October 2014, it passed to the Public Bills Committee, but due to the Commons failing to pass a monetary resolution, the Bill was unable to progress further before the Dissolution of Parliament on 27 March 2015.

Under Ed Miliband‘s leadership between 2010 and 2015, the Labour Party ruled out an In-Out referendum unless there was a further transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. In their manifesto for the 2015 general election the Liberal Democratspledged to hold an In-Out referendum only in the event of there being a change in the EU treaties. The UK Independence Party (UKIP), the British National Party, the Green Party, the Democratic Unionist Party and the Respect Party all supported the principle of a referendum.

When the Conservative Party won the majority of seats in the House of Commons in the May 2015 general election, Cameron reiterated his party’s manifesto commitment to hold an In-Out referendum on UK membership of the EU by the end of 2017, but only after “negotiating a new settlement for Britain in the EU”.

Renegotiation before the referendum

In early 2014, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, outlined the changes he aimed to bring about in the EU and in the UK’s relationship with it. These were: additional immigration controls, especially for new EU members; tougher immigration rules for present EU citizens; new powers for national parliaments collectively to veto proposed EU laws; new free trade agreements and a reduction in bureaucracy for businesses; a lessening of the influence of the European Court of Human Rights on UK police and courts; more power for individual member states and less for the central EU; and abandoning the EU notion of “ever closer union”. He intended to bring these about during a series of negotiations with other EU leaders and then, if re-elected, to announce a referendum.

In November that year, Cameron gave an update on the negotiations and further details of his aims. The key demands made of the EU were: on economic governance, to recognise officially that Eurozone laws would not necessarily apply to non-Eurozone EU members and the latter would not have to bail out troubled Eurozone economies; on competitiveness, to expand the single market and to set a target for the reduction of bureaucracy for businesses; on sovereignty, for the UK to be legally exempted from “ever closer union” and for national parliaments to be able collectively to veto proposed EU laws; and, on immigration, for EU citizens going to the UK for work to be unable to claim social housing or in-work benefits until they had worked there for four years and for them to be unable to send child benefit payments overseas.

The outcome of the renegotiations was announced in February 2016. There was no fundamental change to the EU–UK relationship. Some limits to in-work benefits for EU immigrants were agreed, but these would apply on a sliding scale for four years and be for new immigrants only; before they could be applied, a country would have to get permission from the European Council. Child benefit payments could still be made overseas, but these would be linked to the cost of living in the other country. On sovereignty, the UK was reassured that it would not be required to participate in “ever closer union”; these reassurances were “in line with existing EU law”. Cameron’s demand to allow national parliaments to veto proposed EU laws was modified to allow national parliaments collectively to object to proposed EU laws, in which case the European Council would reconsider the proposal before itself deciding what to do. On economic governance, anti-discrimination regulations for non-Eurozone members would be reinforced, but they would be unable to veto any legislation. The final two areas covered were proposals to “exclude from the scope of free movement rights, third country nationals who had no prior lawful residence in a Member State before marrying a Union citizen” and to make it easier for member states to deport EU nationals for public policy or public security reasons. The extent to which the various parts of the agreement would be legally binding is complex; no part of the agreement itself changed EU law, but some parts could be enforceable in international law.


To enable the referendum to take place across the United Kingdom and Gibraltar, two pieces of legislation were enacted. The first of these, the European Union Referendum Act 2015, was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom and received the Royal Assent on 17 December 2015. The second, the European Union (Referendum) Act 2016, was passed by the Gibraltar Parliament to allow the referendum to take place in Gibraltar and received the Royal Assent on 28 January 2016.[citation needed]

The planned referendum was included in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May 2015. It was suggested at the time that Cameron was planning to hold the referendum in October 2016, but the European Union Referendum Act 2015, which authorised it, went before the House of Commons the following day, just three weeks after the election.On the bill’s second reading on 9 June, members of the House of Commons voted by 544 to 53 in favour of it, endorsing the principle of holding a referendum, with only the Scottish National Party voting against. In contrast to the Labour Party’s position prior to the 2015 general election under Miliband, acting Labour leader Harriet Harman committed her party to supporting plans for an EU referendum by 2017.



Prior to being officially announced, it was widely speculated that a June date for the referendum was a serious possibility. As a result, the First Ministers of the devolved parliaments in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales co-signed a letter to David Cameron asking him not to hold the referendum in June, as devolved elections were scheduled to take place in May. These elections had been postponed for a year, to avoid a clash with the General Election of 2015, after Westminster had implemented the Fixed Term Parliament Act. The letter stated that “We believe that the European referendum is of vital importance to the future of the whole United Kingdom and the debate leading up to it should, therefore, be free of other campaigning distraction.” Cameron refused this request, saying “I think people are perfectly capable of making up their minds in a local election or in a Scottish parliamentary election, or in a Welsh assembly election and then, a period of some weeks afterwards, making up their mind all over again on the vital question of the European Union.”

On 20 February 2016, just hours after the renegotiation deal was struck, Cameron held a special cabinet meeting. After the meeting he announced that the Government was to recommend to the British people that the UK should remain in the EU and that the referendum would be held on 23 June 2016. This marked the official launch of the campaign. He also announced that Parliament would enact secondary legislation relating to the European Union Referendum Act 2015 on 22 February 2016. With the official launch, ministers of the UK Government were then free to campaign on either side of the argument in a rare exception to Cabinet collective responsibility.

Eligibility to vote

The European Union Referendum Act 2015 dictates that only British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK or Gibraltar will be able to vote in the referendum.British citizens who have been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years will also be eligible to vote.

There has been protest by some residents of the Crown dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey that they should have the opportunity to vote in the referendum, as (although not part of the EU, unlike Gibraltar) EU membership also affects them.

Referendum wording

A sample of the ballot paper which voters use at the referendum

Research by the Electoral Commission confirmed that its recommended question “was clear and straightforward for voters, and was the most neutral wording from the range of options … considered and tested”, citing responses to its consultation by a diverse range of consultees, including Thom Brooks and the Democratic Unionist Party.[45] The proposed question was accepted by the government in September 2015, shortly before the bill’s third reading.[46] The first ballot papers were issued to postal voters in May 2016, and the referendum question that appears on them, as required under both pieces of legislation, is: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”[46] The response is to be marked with a single (X): “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union”.

Campaign structures

Campaigning organisations

Britain Stronger in Europe campaigners, London, June 2016.

As of October 2015, there was a cross-party, formal group campaigning for Britain to remain a member, called Britain Stronger in Europe, while there were two groups promoting exit which sought to be the official Leave campaign: Leave.EU(supported by most of UKIP, including Nigel Farage),[47] and Vote Leave (supported by Conservative Party Eurosceptics).[47][48] The Electoral Commission announced on 13 April 2016 that Vote Leave was the official leave campaign. This gave it the right to spend up to £7m, a free mailshot, TV broadcasts and £600,000 in public funds.[49] Leave.EU also has an umbrella group offshoot,[47] the cross-partyGrassroots Out.[50] The UK government’s official position is to support the remain option. A Government-backed campaign was launched in April.[51]

Official publications

Cover of the Government’s leaflet.

HM Government distributed a leaflet to every household in England in the week commencing 11 April, and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on 5 May (afterdevolved elections). It gave details on why the government’s position is that the UK should remain in the EU. The rationale was that internal polls showed that 85% of the population wanted more information from the Government.[52] It was criticised by those wanting to leave as being an unfair advantage, inaccurate and a waste of money (the total campaign including website cost £9.3 million).[53]

In the week beginning 16 May the Electoral Commission sent a voting guide regarding the referendum to every household within the UK and Gibraltar to raise awareness of the upcoming referendum. The eight page guide contained details on how to vote and a whole page was given to the campaign groups Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave to forward their case as well as a sample of the actual ballot paper.[54][55]

Procedure for a withdrawal

There is no precedent for a sovereign member state leaving the European Union or any of its predecessor organisations. However, three territories of EU member states have withdrawn: Algeria (1962, independence from France),[56] Greenland(1985)[57] and Saint Barthélemy (2012),[58] the latter two becoming Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union.

Article 49A of the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force on 1 December 2009, introduced for the first time a procedure for a member state to withdraw voluntarily from the EU.[59] This is specified in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which states that:[60]

  1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
  2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of theEuropean Parliament.
  3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

Remaining members of the EU consequently would need to undertake negotiations to manage change over the EU’s budgets, voting allocations and policies brought about by the withdrawal of any member state.[61]

Hypothesised results of a withdrawal

Were the UK electorate to vote to leave the EU, its subsequent relationship with the remaining EU members could take several forms. A research paper presented to the UK Parliament proposed a number of alternatives to membership which would continue to allow access with the EU internal market. These include remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA) as a European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member, or seeking to negotiate bilateral terms along the Swiss model with a series of interdependent sectoral agreements.[62]

Were the UK to join the EEA as an EFTA member, it would have to sign up to EU internal market legislation without being able to participate in its development or vote on its content. However, the EU is required to conduct extensive consultations with non-EU members beforehand via its many committees and cooperative bodies.[63][64] Some EU Law originates from various international bodies on which non-EU EEA countries have a seat.

The EEA Agreement (EU and EFTA members except Switzerland) does not cover Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies, Customs Union, Common Trade Policy, Common Foreign and Security Policy, direct and indirect Taxation, andPolice and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters, leaving EFTA members free to set their own policies in these areas;[65]however, EFTA countries are required to contribute to the EU Budget in exchange for access to the internal market.[66][67]

The EEA Agreement and the agreement with Switzerland cover free movement of goods, and free movement of people. Many supporters of Brexit want to prevent people from EU countries with low salaries to work in the UK. But if the UK gets an EEA Agreement, it would include free movement for EU and EEA citizens. Others present ideas of a Swiss solution, that is tailor-made agreements between the UK and the EU, but EU representatives have claimed they would not support such a solution. The Swiss agreements contain free movement for EU citizens.

A report by Tim Oliver of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs expanded analysis of what a British withdrawal could mean for the EU: the report argues a UK withdrawal “has the potential to fundamentally change the EU and European integration. On the one hand, a withdrawal could tip the EU towards protectionism, exacerbate existing divisions, or unleash centrifugal forces leading to the EU’s unravelling. Alternatively, the EU could free itself of its most awkward member, making the EU easier to lead and more effective.”[61]

Leading figures both supportive and not of Scottish independence have suggested that in the event the UK as a whole votes to leave the EU but Scotland as a whole votes to remain in the EU, a second Scottish Independence referendum may be precipitated.[68][69] Former Labour Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish has said that he would support Scottish independence under such circumstances.[70] It has also been pointed out that upon the UK’s exit from the EU, many of the powers and competencies of the EU institutions would be repatriated to Holyrood and not Westminster.[71] Currently, Scotland exports three and a half times more to the rest of the UK than to the rest of the EU.[72] The pro-union Scotland in Union has suggested that an independent Scotland within the EU would face trade barriers with a post-Brexit UK and face additional costs for re-entry to the EU.[72]

Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach of Ireland, has warned that a UK exit of the European Union could damage the Northern Ireland peace process.[73] Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers denounced the suggestion as “scaremongering of the worst possible kind”.[74] It has been suggested by a member of Germany’s parliamentary finance committee that a “bilateral solution” between the UK and Ireland could be negotiated quickly after a leave vote.[75]

Regional President of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie Xavier Bertrand stated in February 2016 that “If Britain leaves Europe, right away the border will leave Calais and go to Dover. We will not continue to guard the border for Britain if it’s no longer in the European Union” indicating that the juxtaposed controls would end with a leave vote. French Finance MinisterEmmanuel Macron also suggested the agreement would be “threatened” by a leave vote.[76] These claims have been disputed, as the Le Touquet treaty enabling juxtaposed controls was not debated from within the EU, and would not be legally void upon leaving.[77]

UK universities rely on the EU for around 16% of their total research funding, and are disproportionately successful at winning EU-awarded research grants. This has raised questions about how such funding would be impacted by a British exit.[78]

In 2015, Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo suggested that Gibraltar would attempt to remain part of the EU in the event the UK voted to leave,[79] but reaffirmed that, regardless of the result, the territory would remain British.[80] In a letter to the (UK) Foreign Affairs Select Committee, he requested that Gibraltar be considered in negotiations post-Brexit.[81]

The UK treasury have estimated that being in the EU has a strong positive effect on trade and as a result the UK’s trade would be worse off if it left the EU.[82]


Party policies

The table lists only those political parties with elected representation in the Westminster, the devolved and the European parliaments.

Position Political parties Ref
Remain Alliance Party [83][84]
Green Party England and Wales [85]
Northern Ireland [86]
Scotland [87]
Labour Party [88][89]
Liberal Democrats [90]
Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales [91]
Scottish National Party (SNP) [92][93]
Sinn Féin [94]
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) [95]
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) [96]
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) [97][98]
People Before Profit Alliance (PBP) [99]
Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) [100]
UK Independence Party (UKIP) [101]
Neutral Conservative Party [102]

Among minor parties, Britain First,[103] the British National Party (BNP),[104] Éirígí,[105] Respect Party,[106] Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC),[107] SDP,[108] and Independence from Europe[109] support leaving the EU. The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) support remaining in the EU.[110] The Women’s Equality Party (WE) has no official position on the issue.[111][112]

All parties represented in the Gibraltar Parliament support Remain: the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD),[113] the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP),[114] and the Liberal Party of Gibraltar.[114]

No party has decreed that its members should all follow the party line, resulting in public differences of view: Conservative Party MPs in particular, and Labour MPs to a lesser extent, are taking different sides. Most parties have splits in their members and supporters, with Labour,[115] Conservative,[116] Liberal Democrat,[117] UKIP,[118] and Green[119] supporters all taking different sides.

Cabinet Ministers

For the positions of backbench MPs and other politicians, see Endorsements in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016.

The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is a body responsible for making decisions on policy and organising governmental departments; it is chaired by the Prime Minister and contains most of the government’s ministerial heads.[120] Following the announcement of the referendum in February, 23 of the 30 Cabinet ministers (including attendees) supported the UK staying in the EU.[121] Iain Duncan Smith, in favour of leaving, resigned on 19 March and was replaced by Stephen Crabbwho is in favour of remaining.[121][122] Crabb was already a cabinet member, as the Secretary of State for Wales, and his replacement, Alun Cairns, is in favour of remaining, brining the total number of pro-remain Cabinet members to 25.


Various UK multinationals have stated that they would not like the UK to leave the EU because of the uncertainty it would cause, such as Shell,[123] BT[124] and Vodafone,[125] with some assessing the pros-and-cons of Britain exiting.[126] The banking sector is one of the most vocal advocating to stay in the EU, with the British Bankers Association saying: “Businesses don’t like that kind of uncertainty”.[127] RBS has warned of potential damage to the economy.[128] Furthermore,HSBC and foreign-based banks JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank claim a Brexit might result in the banks’ changing domicile.[129][130] According to Goldman Sachs and the City of London‘s policy chief, all such factors could impact on the City of London’s present status as a European and global market leader in financial services.[131][132] In February 2016, leaders of 36 of the FTSE 100 companies, including Shell, BAE Systems, BT and Rio Tinto, officially supported staying in the EU.[133] Moreover, 60% of the Institute of Directors and the EEF memberships supported staying.

Many UK-based businesses, including Sainsbury’s, have remained steadfastly neutral, concerned that taking sides in the divisive issue could lead to a backlash from customers.

Former Bundesbank President Axel Weber said that leaving the EU would not deal a major blow to London’s status as one of the top financial hubs, saying that central banks have had the biggest effect on the financial markets.

In June 2016, James Dyson, the founder of Dyson company, argued that the introduction of tariffs would be less damaging for exporters than the appreciation of the pound against the Euro, arguing that, as Britain ran a 100 billion pound trade deficit with the EU, tariffs could represent a significant revenue source for the Treasury.[137] Pointing out that languages, plugs and laws differ between EU member states, Dyson said that the 28-country bloc was not a single market, and argued the fastest growing markets were outside the EU.

In the same month, engineering company Rolls-Royce wrote to employees to say that it did not want the UK to leave the EU. It said that Brexit would “limit any company’s ability to plan and budget for the future. It’s all about uncertainty and our position in Europe. … We’re making investment decisions all the time about where to place various parts of our operation… and uncertainty created by Brexit puts a lot of those decisions on hold, and that pause is something that our US competitors don’t have to cope with.”[138]

In June 2015, the credit rating agency Standard & Poors altered its outlook for the UK economy from ‘neutral’ to ‘negative’, saying that the referendum “represents a risk to growth prospects” for the country’s economy. (As of June 2015, S&P is now the sole rating agency giving the UK AAA-rating.)

Surveys of businesses

Surveys of large UK businesses show a strong majority favour the UK remaining in the EU.[140] Small and medium-sized UK businesses are more evenly split.[140] Polls of foreign businesses find that around half would be less likely to do business in the UK, while 1% would increase their investment in the UK.[141][142][143]

Car manufacturers

Two large car manufacturers – Ford and BMW – warned in 2013 against Brexit, suggesting it would be “devastating” for the economy.[144] Conversely, in 2015, some other manufacturing executives told Reuters that they would not shut their plants if the UK left the EU, although future investment might be put at risk.[145] The CEO of Vauxhall stated that a Brexit would not materially affect its business.[146] Foreign-based Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda confirmed that, whether or not Britain left the EU, Toyota would carry on manufacturing cars in Britain as they had done before.[147]

Exchange rates and stock markets

In the week following conclusion of the UK’s renegotiation (and especially after Boris Johnson announced that he would support the UK leaving), the pound fell to a seven-year low against the dollar and economists at HSBC “warned that the pound could drop at a ‘fast and furious’ pace if the UK voted to leave the EU”.[148] At the same time, Daragh Maher, head of HSBC, suggested that if Sterling dropped in value so would the Euro. He said “If we have increased Brexit risk, we will have a negative risk for the euro.” European banking analysts also cited Brexit concerns as the reason for the Euro’s decline.Immediately after a poll in June 2016 showed that the Leave campaign was 10 points ahead, the pound dropped by a further one per cent. In the same month, it was announced that the value of goods exported from the UK in April had shown a month-on-month increase of 11.2%, “the biggest rise since records started in 1998”.

Uncertainty over the referendum result, together with several other factors – US interest rates rising, low commodity prices, low Eurozone growth and concerns over emerging markets such as China – contributed to a high level of stock market volatility in January and February 2016.[153] During this period, the FTSE 100 rose or fell by more than 1.5% on 16 days.[153] On 14 June, polls showing that a Brexit was more likely, coupled with continuing fears over the global economy and the possibility of US interest rate rises, led to the FTSE 100 falling by 2%, meaning that it fell below 6,000 for the first time in four months and that £98 billion had been lost from its value in four days.[154][155]

UK charities

Guidelines by the Charity Commission for England and Wales that forbid political activity for registered charities have kept them silent on the EU poll.[156] According to Simon Wessely, head of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London -neither a special revision of the guidelines from 7 March 2016, nor Cameron’s encouragement have made health organizations, most of which support the remain campaign, willing to speak out.[156]

European responses

Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka suggested that the Czech Republic would start discussions on leaving the EU if the UK voted for an EU exit.[157] Former Czech President Václav Klaus said that Britain’s departure from the EU would be a bigger non-event than the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.[158]

Russian President Vladimir Putin is widely believed to be a supporter of a Brexit from the EU as a way of weakening the EU, which Russia views as a geopolitical rival in the “near abroad” as the Russians call the former Soviet republics.[159][160][161]Bloomberg News ran an article in April 2016 claiming the Russian government was waging a covert propaganda campaign in favour of a Brexit.[162]

The anti-EU Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French Front national, has described the possibility of a Brexit as “like the fall of the Berlin Wall”.[159] A poll in France showed that 59% of the French people were in favour of Britain remaining in the EU.[163] With 4 out of every 10 French voters in favour of a Brexit, France is the EU nation where support for Britain’s continued membership in the EU is at the weakest, which led the journalist Sam Ball to write that the majority of the French wanted the UK to remain, but would not be very upset if Britain were to leave.[163] In a much discussed opinion piece in Le Figaro, the French economist Édouard Tétreau described a Brexit as a “tremendous opportunity” for France, writing that an EU without Britain would be dominated by a Franco-German bloc that would be able to proceed with closer integration of the EU in a way that would not be possible if the UK were to remain.[164] The Polish President Andrzej Duda has stated: “It is not in Poland’s interest that the UK leaves the European Union. We think it would lead to a big crisis and even a collapse if the UK left. In the referendum, we want the British people to vote in favour of staying in the EU”.[165]

The German economist Clemens Fuest has written that a Brexit would present major problems for Germany.[166] Fuest wrote at present there is a liberal, free trade bloc in the EU comprising the UK, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Slovakia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania which control 32% of the votes in the European Council and stands in opposition to the dirigiste, protectionist policies favoured by France and its allies.[166] Germany with its “social market” economy stands midway between the French dirigiste economic model and the British free market economic model. From the German viewpoint, the existence of the liberal bloc allows Germany to play off free market Britain against dirigiste France, and that if Britain were to leave, the liberal bloc would be severely weakened, thereby allowing the French to take the EU into a much more dirigiste direction that would be unattractive from the standpoint of Berlin.[166]

Non-European responses

United States

In October 2015, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman declared that the United States was not keen on pursuing a separate free trade agreement (FTA) with Britain if it were to leave the EU, thus undermining, according to The Guardian, a key economic argument of proponents of those who say Britain would prosper on its own and be able to secure bilateral FTAs with trading partners.[167] Also in October 2015, the United States Ambassador to the United KingdomMatthew Barzun said that UK participation in NATO and the EU made each group “better and stronger” and that, while the decision to remain or leave is a choice for the British people, it was in the US interest that it remain.[168] In April 2016, eight former U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury, who served both Democratic and Republican presidents, urged Britain to remain in the EU.[169]

In July 2015, President Barack Obama confirmed the longstanding US preference for the UK to remain in the EU. Obama said: “Having the UK in the EU gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union, and is part of the cornerstone of the institutions built after [the second world war] that has made the world safer and more prosperous. We want to make sure that the United Kingdom continues to have that influence.”[170] Obama’s intervention was criticised by Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz as “a slap in the face of British self-determination as the president, typically, elevated an international organisation over the rights of a sovereign people”, and claimed that “Britain will be at the front of the line for a free trade deal with America”, were a Brexit to occur. In March 2016, the Republican candidate Donald Trump stated about the possibility of a Brexit: “I think maybe it’s time, especially in light of what’s happened, with the craziness that’s going on with the migration, with people pouring in all over the place. I think that Britain will end up separating from the EU, that’s my opinion. I’m not endorsing it one way or the other but that’s my opinion.”


In October 2015, the Chinese President Xi Jinping declared his support for Britain remaining in the EU, saying “China hopes to see a prosperous Europe and a united EU, and hopes Britain, as an important member of the EU, can play an even more positive and constructive role in promoting the deepening development of China-EU ties”.Chinese diplomats have stated “off the record” that the People’s Republic sees the EU as a counterbalance to American economic power, and that an EU without Britain would mean a stronger United States.

International Monetary Fund

In February 2016, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned that the uncertainty over the outcome of the referendum would be bad “in and of itself” for the British economy.[175] She added that leaving the EU was “bound to be negative on all fronts”.[176] In May 2016, she reiterated these concerns, arguing that if the British people vote to leave the EU, the consequences would be “pretty bad to very, very bad”.[177] In response, Leave campaigner Priti Patel said a previous warning from the IMF regarding the coalition government’s deficit plan for the UK was proven incorrect and that the IMF “were wrong then and are wrong now”.


In February 2016, the finance ministers from the G-20 major economies warned that leaving the EU would lead to “a shock” in the global economy.


Most British economists believe leaving the EU would negatively affect the UK economy.

In November 2015, the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said that the Bank of England would do what was necessary to help the UK economy if the British people voted to leave the EU. In March 2016, Carney told MPs that an EU exit was the “biggest domestic risk” to the UK economy, but that remaining a member also carried risks, related to the European Monetary Union, which the UK is not a member of.In May 2016, Carney said that a “technical recession” was one of the possible risks of the UK leaving the EU. However, Iain Duncan Smith said Carney’s comment should be taken with “a pinch of salt”, saying “all forecasts in the end are wrong”.

In December 2015, the Bank of England published a report about the impact of immigration on wages. The report concluded that immigration put downward pressure on workers’ wages, particularly low-skilled workers’: a 10 percent point rise in the proportion of migrants working in low-skilled services drove down the average wages of low-skilled workers by about 2 percent.[187]

In March 2016, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argued that he might reconsider his support for the UK remaining in the EU if the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were to be agreed to. Stiglitz warned that under the investor state dispute settlement provision in current drafts of the TTIP, governments risked being sued for loss of profits resulting from new regulations, including health and safety regulations to limit the use of asbestos or tobacco.

Institute for Fiscal Studies

In May 2016, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that an EU exit could mean two more years of austerity cuts as the government would have to make up for an estimated loss of £20 billion to £40 billion of tax revenue. The head of the IFS, Paul Johnson said that the UK “could perfectly reasonably decide that we are willing to pay a bit of a price for leaving the EU and regaining some sovereignty and control over immigration and so on. That there would be some price though, I think is now almost beyond doubt.”

Centre for Economics and Business Research

In June 2016, the Centre for Economics and Business Research warned that 800,000 jobs could be lost if Britain adopted the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for trade with Europe, which leading Brexiteers Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage said Britain could trade under if it could not agree a new trade deal with the rest of the EU. WTO rules allow tariffs of 10 per cent on cars, 75 per cent on tobacco and cigars, 22 per cent on fruit and 12 per cent on clothes.

Law and economics experts

A study by Oxford Economics for the Law Society has suggested that Brexit would have a particularly large negative impact on the UK financial services industry and law firms that support it, which could cost the law sector as much as £1.7bn per annum by 2030.[191] The Law Society’s own report into the possible effects of Brexit notes that leaving the EU would be likely to reduce the role played by the UK as a centre for resolving disputes between foreign firms, whilst a potential loss of “passporting” rights would require financial services firms to transfer departments responsible for regulatory oversight overseas.

World Pensions Forum director M Nicolas Firzi has argued that the Brexit debate should be viewed within the broader context of economic analysis of EU law and regulation in relation to English common law arguing “Every year, the British Parliament is forced to pass tens of new statutes reflecting the latest EU directives coming from Brussels – a highly undemocratic process known as “transposition” … Slowly but surely, these new laws dictated by EU commissars are conquering English common law, imposing upon UK businesses and citizens an ever-growing collection of fastidious regulations in every field”.

A poll of lawyers conducted by a legal recruiter in late May 2016 suggested 57% of lawyers wanted to remain in the EU.[194]

Fishing industry

A June 2016 survey of UK fishermen found that 92% intended to vote to leave the EU. The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy was mentioned as a central reason for their near-unanimity.[195] More than three quarters believed that they would be able to land more fish, and 93% stated that leaving the EU would benefit the fishing industry.


In May 2016, 300 historians wrote in a joint letter that Britain could play a bigger role in the world as part of the EU. The letter said “As historians of Britain and of Europe, we believe that Britain has had in the past, and will have in the future, an irreplaceable role to play in Europe.”

Exit plan competition

Following David Cameron’s announcement of an EU referendum, British think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) announced in July 2013 a competition to find the best plan for a UK exit from the European Union, declaring that a departure is a “real possibility” after the 2015 general election. Iain Mansfield, a Cambridge graduate and UKTI diplomat, submitted the winning thesis: A Blueprint for Britain: Openness not Isolation.[199] Mansfield’s submission focused on addressing both trade and regulatory issues with member states as well as other global trading partners.

Opinion polling

Opinion polling on the referendum

Since 2010, polls have indicated that the British public are divided on the question, with opposition to EU membership peaking in November 2012 at 56% compared with 30% who prefer to remain in,[202] while in June 2015 those in favour of Britain remaining in the EU reached 43% versus those opposed 36%.[203] The largest ever poll (of 20,000 people, in March 2014) showed the public evenly split on the issue, with 41% in favour of withdrawal, 41% in favour of membership, and 18% undecided.[204] However, when asked how they would vote if Britain renegotiated the terms of its membership of the EU, and the UK Government stated that British interests had been satisfactorily protected, more than 50% indicated that they would vote for Britain to stay in.[205]

Analysis of polling suggests that young voters tend to support remaining in the EU, whereas those older tend to support leaving, but there is no gender split in attitudes.[206][207] YouGov have also found that euroscepticism correlates with people of lower income, but notes that euroscepticism also has strongholds in “the more wealthy, Tory shires”.[208] Scotland, Wales and many English urban areas with large student populations are more pro-EU.[208] Big business is broadly behind remaining in the EU, though the situation among smaller companies is less clear cut.[209] In polls of economists, lawyers, and scientists, clear majorities see the UK’s membership of the EU as beneficial.[210][211][212][213][214]


The number of jobs lost or gained by a withdrawal is likely to be a dominant issue; the BBC’s outline of issues warns that a precise figure is difficult to find. The leave campaign argue that a reduction in red tape associated with EU regulations would create more jobs and that small to medium-sized companies who trade domestically would be the biggest beneficiaries. Those arguing to remain in the EU, claim that millions of jobs would be lost. The EU’s importance as a trading partner and the outcome of its trade status if it left is a disputed issue. While those wanting to stay cite that most of the UK’s trade is made with the EU, those arguing to leave say that its trade is not as important as it used to be. Scenarios of the economic outlook for the country if it left the EU are generally negative. The United Kingdom also pays more into the EU budget than it receives.[215]

Citizens of EU countries, including the United Kingdom, have the right to travel, live and work within other EU countries, asfree movement is one of the four founding principles of the EU.[216] Campaigners for remaining say that EU immigration has had positive impacts on the UK’s economy, citing that the country’s growth forecasts are partly based upon continued high levels of net immigration.[215] The Office for Budget Responsibility also claim that taxes from immigrants boost public funding.[215] The Leave campaign believe reduced immigration would ease pressure in public services such as schools and hospitals, as well as giving British workers more jobs and higher wages.[215] According to official Office for National Statisticsdata, net migration in 2015 was 333,000, which was the second highest level on record, far above David Cameron’s target of tens of thousands.[217][218] Net migration from the EU was 184,000[218] The figures also showed that 77,000 EU migrants who came to Britain were looking for work.[217][218]

The possibility that the UK’s smaller constituent countries could vote to remain within the EU but find themselves withdrawn from the EU has led to discussion about the risk to the unity of the United Kingdom.[219] Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has made clear that she believes that a second independence referendum will “almost certainly” be demanded by Scots if the UK votes to leave the EU but Scotland does not.[220] The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has said: “If Wales votes to remain in [the EU] but the UK votes to leave, there will be a… constitutional crisis. The UK cannot possibly continue in its present form if England votes to leave and everyone else votes to stay”.[221]

There is a growing concern that Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed trade agreement between United States and the EU, would be a threat to the public services of EU member states.[222] [223] [224] [225] Jeremy Corbyn, on the Remain side, said that he pledged to veto TTIP in Government.[226] John Mills, on the Leave side, argued that UK could not veto TTIP because trade pacts were decided by Qualified Majority Voting in the European Council.[227]

There was debate over the extent to which the European Union membership aids security and defence in comparison to the UK’s membership to NATO and the United Nations.[228] Security concerns over the union’s free movement policy were raised too, because people with EU passports are unlikely to receive detailed checks at border control.[229]

Debates, Q&A sessions and Interviews

A debate was held by The Guardian on 15 March 2016, featuring the leader of UKIP Nigel Farage, Conservative MPAndrea Leadsom, the leader of Labour’s “yes” campaign Alan Johnson and former leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg.[230]

Earlier in the campaign, on 11 January, a debate took place between Nigel Farage and Carwyn Jones, who was at the time the First Minister of Wales and leader of the Welsh Labour Party.[231][232] Reluctance to have Conservative Party members argue against one another has seen some debates split, with Leave and Remain candidates interviewed separately.[233]

The Spectator held a debate hosted by Andrew Neil on 26 April, which featured Nick Clegg, Liz Kendall and Chuka Umunnaarguing for a remain vote, and Nigel Farage, Daniel Hannan and Kate Hoey arguing for a leave vote.[234]

The Daily Express held a debate on 3 June, featuring Nigel Farage, Labour MP Kate Hoey and Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg debating Labour MPs Siobhain McDonagh and Chuka Umunna and businessman Richard Reed, co-founder ofInnocent drinks.[235]

Andrew Neil presented four interviews ahead of the referendum. The interviewees were Hilary Benn, George Osborne, Nigel Farage and Iain Duncan Smith on 6, 8, 10 and 17 May respectively.[236]

The scheduled debates and question sessions to be broadcast nationally include:

A debate aimed at young people, with an audience of 18–29 year olds. Panellists are Alex Salmond and Alan Johnson for Remain, and Liam Fox and Diane James for Leave.
An interview between Faisal Islam and David Cameron, followed by a Q&A session moderated by Kay Burley.[239]
  • EU: In Or Out with Michael Gove, Sky News, 3 June, hosted by Faisal Islam and Kay Burley
An interview between Faisal Islam and Michael Gove, followed by a Q&A session moderated by Kay Burley.[239]
  • Victoria Derbyshire: The EU Debate, Manchester, BBC One, 6 June, hosted by Victoria Derbyshire[240]
A live debate featuring an audience of 150 people.
David Cameron and Nigel Farage answer questions from a studio audience in back-to-back half hour sessions.[241]
  • The ITV Referendum Debate, London, ITV One, 9 June, hosted by Julie Etchingham
Campaigners answer audience questions and debate with each other. Remain panelists are Angela Eagle, Amber Rudd and Nicola Sturgeon, and Leave panelists are Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, and Gisela Stuart.
Michael Gove answers questions from the audience.
  • Question Time EU Referendum Special with David Cameron, Milton Keynes, BBC One, 19 June, hosted by David Dimbleby
David Cameron answers questions from the audience.
  • Title TBC, Place TBC, Sky News, 20 June, hosted by Faisal Islam
The leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn will face questions from a live studio audience made up of a representative selection of young people, chaired by Sky News’ Political Editor Faisal Islam.
A debate with an audience of 6,000.[244] The audience will be split evenly between supporters of staying in, and leaving the European Union.
The final debate before polling opens, with “a wide range of well-known and passionate guests including leading politicians, opinion formers and other high profile pro and anti-protagonists.”[245]

Voting areas and counts

Manchester Town Hall is the venue where the result of the referendum will be declared by the Chief Counting Officer Jenny Watson for the whole of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar.

The twelve areas of the United Kingdom to be used in aggregating local voting results.

The referendum will be held across all four countries of the United Kingdom, as well as in the Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, as a single majority vote. There are to be 382 voting areas which are grouped into twelve regional counts and there will be separate declarations for each of the regional counts. For the second time in a UK-wide referendum, as chairperson of the Electoral Commission, the Chief Counting Officer (CCO) will be Jenny Watson, who will announce the final result of the referendum (combining all 12 regional counts from across the UK and Gibraltar) inManchester on Friday, 24 June 2016.[246]

In England, as happened in the 2011 AV referendum, the 326 districts will be used as the local voting areas and the returns of these will then feed into nine English regional counts. In Scotland the local voting areas will be the 32 local councils which will then feed their results into the Scottish national count, and in Wales the 22 local councils will be their local voting areas before the results are then fed into the Welsh national count. Northern Ireland will, as was the case in the AV referendum, be a single voting and national count area. Gibraltar will be a single voting area and its result will be fed into the South West England regional count.[246]

The following table shows the breakdown of the voting areas and regional counts that will be used for the referendum.[246]

Country Counts and voting areas
United Kingdom Referendum declaration;
12 regional counts;
382 local voting areas
Constituent countries Counts and voting areas
England 9 regional counts;
326 local voting areas
Northern Ireland National count and single voting area
Scotland National count;
32 local voting areas
Wales National count;
22 local voting areas
British Overseas Territory Voting area
Gibraltar Single voting area
(regional count: South West England)

Campaigning in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016


Britain Stronger in Europe campaigners, London, June 2016.

Campaigning in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum began unofficially on Saturday 20 February 2016 when Prime MinisterDavid Cameron formally announced under the terms of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 that a referendum would be held on the issue of the United Kingdom‘s membership of the European Union. The official campaign period for the 2016 referendum will run from Friday 15 April 2016 until the day of the poll on Thursday 23 June 2016.

Position of political parties[edit]

Position Political parties Ref
Remain Alliance Party [1][2]
Green Party England and Wales [3]
Northern Ireland [4]
Scotland [5]
Labour Party [6][7]
Liberal Democrats [8]
Plaid Cymru [9]
Scottish National Party (SNP) [10][11]
Sinn Féin [12]
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) [13]
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) [14]
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) [15][16]
People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA)
Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) [17]
UK Independence Party (UKIP) [18]
Neutral Conservative Party [19]
  • Note that some individual members of the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, SNP and other parties that back the ‘Remain’ campaign, have signalled their support for Brexit.

Designation of official campaign groups

At the close of applications on 31 March only Britain Stronger in Europe had applied to the Electoral Commission for the official “remain” designation. Three competing applications were submitted for the official “leave” designation.[20] TheElectoral Commission announced the designated campaign groups for the leave and remain sides on 13 April 2016, two days before the official ten week campaign period began.[21]

Remain Groups

Academics for Europe

Represents any academic that is for EU membership for the UK. They seek to unite students and more senior academics in a campaign that aims to increase awareness among the wider public of the benefits and positive impact the UK’s EU membership has for academia and higher education. http://academicsforeurope.eu/

Another Europe is Possible

Another Europe is a campaign for a radical ‘in’ vote – building a community that is pro-EU even while it works towards building a stronger, reformed union that can bring about the radical social change our citizens need in the UK and across Europe. http://www.anothereurope.org/

Brand EU

A group that is ‘generating a people movement for the millions that believe in European unity’ and as part of its campaign to keep Britain in the EU, is tackling many of the myths that have built up around EU membership.http://www.brandeu.eu/home/eu-referendum/

Britain Stronger in Europe

Britain Stronger in Europe (formally The In Campaign Ltd) is a cross-party lobbying group campaigning for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016. It was launched at the Truman Brewery in London on 12 October 2015 and declared as the official “Remain” campaign for the referendum by the Electoral Commission on 13 April 2016. http://www.strongerin.co.uk/

British Influence

British Influence believes that EU membership can be summed as improving our prosperity, security and society. They believe that we benefit greatly from the EU single market, cooperation on tackling organised crime and terrorism and through increased peace and transparency that comes from international collaboration. http://www.britishinfluence.org/

Business for new Europe

Britain’s leading pro-European business coalition and has long been campaigning for British businesses to get involved in a more competitive and open European market. To this end they not only want Britain to remain within the EU but also make calls for reform of the EU. http://www.businessforneweurope.org/

Cambridge for Europe

Cambridge for Europe is a local, community campaign group aiming to ensure that the people of Cambridge and surrounding areas fully understand the arguments for continued membership of the EU. They believe this is an incredibly important issue to individuals, families and their communities. http://www.cambridgeforeurope.co.uk/

Conservatives Europe Group

The Conservative Group for Europe believes in a hard-headed promotion of British interests in Europe as a committed participant. http://www.conservativegroupforeurope.org.uk/

Conservatives In

Members of the Conservative Party supporting the UK remaining in the European Union. Conservatives In believe the UK has the best of both worlds with its “special status” in the EU. The campaign has the backing of the majority of Conservative MPs.[24] Conservatives In was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron on 24 February 2016.http://www.conservatives.in/

Environmentalists for Europe

Chaired by the father of Boris Johnson and former MEP Stanley Johnson,[25] Environmentalists for Europe is “standing up for Britain’s place in Europe – we are stronger, cleaner and greener in the EU”. They argue that its “because of European protections that our beaches are cleaner, our countryside protected, our air cleaner and our food safer”.http://www.environmentalistsforeurope.org/

European Movement UK[edit]

An independent, non-partisan, grassroots organisation that works to promote the idea that the UK’s brightest future lies in close partnership with its European neighbours. It is part of the European Movement International network that has been campaigning for peace, stability, better jobs and prosperity through European integration for over 70 years.http://euromove.org.uk/

Federal Trust for Education and Research[edit]

The Federal Trust is a research institute studying the interactions between regional, national, European and global levels of government. Founded in 1945 on the initiative of Sir William Beveridge, it has long made a powerful contribution to the study of federalism and federal systems. It has always had a particular interest in the European Union and Britain’s place in it. http://fedtrust.co.uk/

Friends of the Earth Trust

The Friends of the Earth Trust state that “Being part of the European Union has given us: cleaner beaches and drinking water, less air pollution, safer products and protected wildlife. https://www.foe.co.uk/page/eu-referendum-environment

Generation Europe

Generation Europe are making the case for students and young people to remain a part of a reformed European Union.http://studentsforeurope.com/

Global Justice Now

Global Justice Now is a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world. http://www.globaljustice.org.uk/blog/2016/mar/7/global-justice-now-members-say-stay-change-europe

Greens For A Better Europe

Greens For A Better Europe is the The Green Party of England and Wales campaign backing continued EU membership for the UK. The Green Party wants Britain to remain a part of the EU because “we believe that we flourish when we work together on the shared challenges we face”. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/europe

Healthier IN the EU

Healthier IN the EU was set up to represent health professionals, carers, patients and researchers who see the benefits that the EU brings to our public health every day. Many health concerns span borders from large scale environmental challenges like air pollution to more individual concerns like the millions of cases of rare diseases that no single country can hope to tackle on their own. http://healthierin.eu/

Historians for Britain IN Europe[edit]

Historians for Britain IN Europe “believe that a British withdrawal from the European Union would irretrievably damage Britain’s position in the world and undermine for decades to come the stability and coherence of what would once again be a divided Europe. http://historiansforbritainineurope.org/

#INtogether (Liberal Democrats)[edit]

The official Liberal Democrat party campaign supporting the UK’s membership of the EU. The Liberal Democrats are generally seen as the most pro-EU political party in UK politics, with every current Lib Dem MP, MEP, MSP, Wales AM and London AM supporting EU membership. http://www.libdems.org.uk/europe

Irish for Europe[edit]

Irish for Europe believe “Irish people living in the UK have a lot to lose if the Brexit vote wins. For security, for the economy, and for the freedom to live, travel and work in the UK, we are better off with the UK as part of Europe”.http://irishforeurope.org/

Keep Scotland in the EU[edit]

Keep Scotland in the EU is a community that is determined to raise the profile of the benefits of EU membership to Scotland. Scotland is more Euro-friendly than other parts of the UK but may be pulled out by the dominance of England-based voters and Scotland will have to fight to join pro-EU voices to stay in. https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanScotland

Labour In for Britain[edit]

The Labour Party’s adopted position is to support the UK remaining in the EU. Labour In is the party’s official campaign pushing for a remain vote in the UK referendum on EU membership. Only 7 Labour MPs back a leave vote.[26] Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned that a Brexit vote would damage workers’ rights.[27] Labour In is led by Alan Johnson MP and was launched on 1 December 2015. http://www.labour.org.uk/inforbritain

Labour Movement for Europe[edit]

The Labour Movement for Europe is a Socialist Society affiliated to the Labour Party whose aim is to improve and broaden the understanding of the European Union and its potential throughout the wider Labour movement and the United Kingdom. It is the home of the pro-Europeans in the Labour and trade union movement. http://labourmovement.eu/

Lawyers – In For Britain[edit]

A group of hundreds of lawyers who consider that the UK’s interests are best served by remaining in the EU. http://lawyers-inforbritain.uk/

London First[edit]

London First is committed to remaining within the European Union (EU), in large part because of the economic benefits of the Single Market, and sees great opportunities for Britain to lead a deepening of that market to drive jobs and growth across the country. http://londonfirst.co.uk/our-focus/londons-relationship-with-europe/

New Europeans[edit]

New Europeans promotes the benefits of EU membership with a focus on the rights of EU citizens especially the right to freedom of movement. As such, it represents 2.5 million EU citizens that have moved to the UK to live, work or study and over 2 million UK citizens who have moved to other EU states. https://neweuropeans.net/

Out 4 In[edit]

Out 4 In is a social media campaign aiming to promote the benefits of EU membership for the LGBT community – and for everyone! An inclusive, grassroots, pro-EU community. https://twitter.com/Out4In

Pro Europa[edit]

Pro Europa runs a broad campaign based on the EU’s benefits for jobs, trade, consumer rights, peace and democracy, collective power to get better trade deals and power to take on today’s global multi-national giants that are bigger than most individual countries. http://www.proeuropa.org.uk/

Say Yes to Europe[edit]

Say Yes to Europe is dedicated to traditional, popular, grassroots action. They focus on sharing information on the benefits of EU membership for citizen rights and also on ensuring the referendum is open to all residents of the UK.https://sayyes2europe.eu/

Scientists for EU

A campaign by UK scientists to keep the UK in the EU. The campaign argues science is vital for the UK’s economy and quality of life, and that science is at the heart of global and social challenges that face us all. Scientists for EU believe that “we can achieve so much more good for the UK and the world from within the EU”. http://scientistsforeu.uk/

St Andrews for Europe (SAfE)

A group run for the people of St Andrews – both students and residents. Their aims are to increase awareness of the current EU debate and upcoming EU referendum. They are aligned with a pro-EU membership objective but welcome opposing views to join and make a richer debate. Supported by the Students for Europe group as well as the Britain Stronger in Europe Campaign, we are a cross-party aimed at preserving the strength of our European Union.https://www.facebook.com/standrewsforeurope

Stay in Europe

A campaign dedicated to promoting the benefits to the UK of EU membership and why it is better to stay ‘in’. A key point is the common problems we share that can be better addressed if we unite with our European neighbours.http://www.letsstayin.eu/home.html

Students for Europe

Students for Europe is coordinated by European Movement and is determined to build a large coalition of young people, across the country and across the social and political divides, who will come together to keep the UK safe, prosperous and powerful, at the heart of Europe. http://studentsforeurope.org/

Third Generation Environmentalism

Third Generation Environmentalism believe “membership of the EU offers substantial benefits on energy and climate change that a ‘leave’ vote would require the UK to forego, making the transition to a low carbon economy more expensive and less secure”. https://www.e3g.org/library/Benefits-of-Europe-for-Energy-and-Climate-Change-And-What-Could-Happen-If

UK Indians for Remaining in Europe

UK Indians for Remaining in Europe state “We are united in our belief that the UK is stronger, safer and better off as a member of the EU”. “Contrary to the argument made by some, that Britain needs to leave the EU in order to strengthen its ties with Commonwealth countries, we believe that our membership of the EU helps to enhance and strengthen the UK’s partnership with countries like India”.http://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/14452753.___British_Indians_for_IN____campaign_has_backing_of_leading_parliamentarians/?ref=mrb&lp=18

UK to Stay in the EU

Aims to engage 50,000 volunteers to collectively win 15 million votes to remain in the EU at the upcoming referendum. They estimate 15 million is the minimum number required to secure a victory. They are a purely grassroots organisation.https://uktostay.eu/

Universities for Europe (Universities UK)[edit]

The Universities for Europe campaign, led by Universities UK, aims to “show the value of EU membership to our universities and why this matters to British people”. They believe “The UK’s membership of the European Union makes our outstanding universities even stronger”. http://www.universitiesforeurope.com/Pages/Home.aspx#.VzjE7_krKHs

Wake Up Europe[edit]

Wake Up Europe is a campaign set up by the Wake Up Foundation, to facilitate a transnational debate on the future of Europe inspired by the documentary The Great European Disaster Movie. They believe in the founding principles of the EU and wish for it to continue but they also believe in the need for reform and to ‘rescue the EU from itself’. They aim to empower ordinary people – in the UK and the rest of Europe – to come together and discuss these issues so that the future of the EU is taken out of the hands of political and media elites. http://www.wakeupeurope.eu/

Wales 4 Europe[edit]

Wales 4 Europe believes that Wales benefits greatly from the EU including Objective One aid packages, tariff free trade providing a much needed boost to Welsh businesses and protection for workers. They also promote the EU’s benefits for the environment. https://www.facebook.com/Wales-For-Europe-102721763421881/

We Are Europe[edit]

We are Europe gathers and mobilizes the energy of eight European events, both festivals and forums, supporting European culture, high artistic standards, cultural innovation and creation. This common project aims to develop a European and prospective vision of electronic and digital cultures, cultural entrepreneurship, innovation and new technology.[28]http://weare-europe.eu/en/home/

Workers’ Europe[edit]

Workers’ Europe has the following aims: Vote against UK withdrawal from the EU, Defend migrants’ rights, Oppose racism and Campaign for a workers’ Europe based on solidarity between working people.https://www.facebook.com/ForAWorkersEurope/

Young European Movement[edit]

Young European Movement was formed in 1972 as a non-partisan platform for pro-European opinions of the under 35s. They have a history of organising events, running campaigns and even bringing education into schools. They are volunteer run and seek to promote European integration and a stronger European Union. http://yem.org.uk/

Leave Groups[edit]

Vote Leave[edit]

Vote Leave is an organisation that campaigns for Britain to leave the European Union. On 13 April 2016, Vote Leave was designated by the Electoral Commission as the official campaign in favour of leaving the European Union for the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Vote Leave was created in October 2015 and is a cross-party campaign, including members of Parliament from Conservatives, Labour, and UKIP. http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/


Leave.EU is an organisation campaigning for the Leave vote in the upcoming United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Founded in July 2015 as The Know, the campaign was relaunched in September 2015 with its present name to reflect altered wording in the referendum question. The campaign, along with rival organisation Vote Leave, aimed to be formally designated as the lead campaign for the Leave vote by the Electoral Commission. On 13 April 2016, Vote Leave was designated by the Electoral Commission as the official campaign. http://leave.eu/

Grassroots Out[edit]

Grassroots Out was formed in January 2016 as a result of infighting between Vote Leave and Leave.EU[citation needed] and officially launched on 23 January 2016 in Kettering. Despite its name, it was started by politicians from a mixture of political parties including Peter Bone, Tom Pursglove, Liam Fox of the Conservatives, Kate Hoey of Labour, Nigel Farage of UKIP and Sammy Wilson of the DUP. http://grassrootsout.co.uk/

Labour Leave[edit]

Labour Leave is a campaign group within the Labour Party (UK) opposed to the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union and led by Labour MP’s Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, Kelvin Hopkins, and Roger Godsiff.http://www.labourleave.org/

Left Leave[edit]

Left Leave is a left-wing group campaigning for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. It is made up of a coalition of left-wing political parties and organisations, such as the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Respect Partyand the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers. The Left Leave campaign is chaired by Robert Griffiths, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain. http://www.leftleave.org/

Trade Union and Socialist Coalition[edit]

The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition also applied to be the official “leave” campaign. It purports to represent anti-austerity campaigners who wish to leave the EU rather than other leave groups who represent “pro-business” views.[29]

Green Leaves[edit]

Within the Green Party (which supports Remain): An organisation of Green Party members who are campaigning to leave the EU. Baroness Jenny Jones is a supporter. http://green-leaves.org

Liberal Leave[edit]

Within the Liberal Democrats (which supports Remain): A campaign group of Liberal Democrat activists who want to leave the EU, includes councillors and former MP for Hereford, Paul Keetch. http://liberalleave.org

Campaign Anthems[edit]

Both the Remain and Leave campaigns have released songs to promote their messages. Gruff Rhys for the Remain team entitles his song I love EU [1]. For the Leave campaign, UKIP Parliamentary Candidate Mandy Boylett [2] created a parody of the Three Lions anthem.[30] David Baddiel, who penned the original Three Lions, described this version as “brilliantly naff“.[31]

On 13 June 2016 Mandy Boylett launched a follow up Brexit song, penning new words to Pink’s Get this party started.[32]The new song was immediately reported across the British Press including the Daily Express,[33]City AM [34]

Individual endorsements[edit]

A number of politicians, public figures, newspapers and magazines, businesses and other organisations endorsed an official position during the Referendum campaign. These are listed in the article above.

Campaigning in England[edit]

Leave.EU is planning to hold a concert at the Genting Arena in Birmingham in support of leaving the EU. However, the first concert, set to be held on May 8, 2016, was cancelled after bands pulled out claiming to have been misled about the nature of the event.[35] A second concert, to be held on 19 June 2016, has also seen many of its headline acts withdraw.[36]

Campaigning in Scotland[edit]

Campaigning in Northern Ireland[edit]

Campaigning in Wales[edit]

Campaigning in Gibraltar[edit]

Unlike all other British overseas territories, Gibraltar is part of the UK’s EU membership and consequently the territory will participate in the referendum. As of March 2016, all major parties within the Gibraltarian parliament support a “remain” vote.

Opinion polling for the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Opinion polling on the referendum since 2013, showing “remain” in green, “leave” in red, and “undecided” in blue (updated 12 June 2016)

Opinion polling for the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum has been ongoing in the months since the announcement of a referendum, and polls on the general principle of Britain’s membership of the European Union have been carried out for a number of years. The referendum on EU membership will take place on 23 June 2016.

Opinion polls of voters in general have tended to show roughly equal proportions in favour of remaining and leaving. Polls of business leaders, scientists, and lawyers have shown majorities in favour of remaining. Among non-British citizens in other EU member states, polling suggested that a majority were in favour of the UK remaining in the EU in principle, but that a similarly sized majority believe that if the UK were only able to remain in the EU on renegotiated terms then it should leave.



Younger voters tend to support remaining in the EU (but are less likely to vote[1]) whereas older people tend to support leaving. There is no significant difference in attitudes between the genders. According to two out of three pollsters, managerial, professional and administrative workers are most likely to favour staying in the EU, while semi-skilled and unskilled workers, plus those reliant on benefits, are the largest demographic supporting leave. University graduates are more likely to vote remain compared to those with no qualifications.[2] White voters are evenly split, and all ethnic minoritygroups lean towards backing Remain, but registration is lower and turnout could be up to 25% lower in this demographic.[3]Support for remaining in the EU is significantly higher in Scotland than it is in Great Britain as a whole, with Scottish voters saying they are more likely to vote.[4]

Polling methods

The way voters are polled is known to affect the outcome. Telephone polls have consistently found more support for remaining in the EU than online polls.[5] YouGov, which uses online polling, has criticised telephone polls because they “have too high a percentage of graduates”, skewing the results.[6] Ipsos MORI and ComRes, and Peter Kellner, the former president of YouGov, have said telephone polls are more reliable.[7][8][9] ICM has said “as good a guess as any is that the right answer lies somewhere in between”.[10] A joint study by Populus and Number Cruncher Politics in March 2016 concluded that telephone polls were likely to better reflect the state of public opinion on the issue.[11]

Polls of polls

Several different groups have calculated polls of polls, which collect and average the results of opinion polls across different companies. They have different methodologies; for example, some give more weight to recent polls than others, some deal with undecided voters differently, and some attempt to adjust for the consistent gap between telephone and online polling. As a result, the polls of polls give a spread of results.

Conducted by To date Remain Leave Undecided Notes
What UK Thinks: EU[12] 15 June 48% 52% N/A Six most recent polls. Excludes “Don’t knows”.
Financial Times[13] 15 June 44% 47% 8% [14]
Elections Etc[15] 14 June 50% 50% N/A Excludes “Don’t knows”. Telephone polls are adjusted in favour of Leave and online polls in favour of Remain.
Britain Elects: EU[16] 13 June 44.6% 46% N/A
Number Cruncher Politics[17] 13 June 45.9% 45.5% 8.6% Equal weighting given to online and telephone polls.[18]
The Economist[19] 13 June 42% 44% 10% Excludes polls with fewer than 900 participants.
The Independent[20] 9 June 45% 44% 11%

Standard polling on EU membership

The tables show polling on whether the UK should be in or out of the EU. Polling generally weights the sample to be nationally representative. Polls are usually conducted within Great Britain, with Northern Ireland and Gibraltar normally omitted from the sample.[21] This has historically been the case in British opinion polling because Northern Ireland has a different set of political parties from the rest of the UK, reflecting the political divide between unionism and nationalism orrepublicanism.[21] Similarly, Gibraltar is not included in standard polls because it has its own local legislature and does not take part in British parliamentary elections, although Gibraltar does take part in elections to the European Parliament and will take part in the referendum.

The percentages who “would not vote” or who refused to answer are not shown below, although some pollsters have excluded these in any case.


Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Undecided Lead Sample Conducted by Polling type Notes
16 June All official campaigning suspended after Labour Party MP Jo Cox is fatally shot attending a surgery for her constituents.[22]
15 June 42% 45% 13% 3% 1,104 Survation Telephone
11–14 June 47% 53% N/A 6% 1,257 Ipsos MORI Telephone
12–13 June 39% 46% 15% 7% 1,905 YouGov Online
10–13 June 45% 50% 5% 5% 1,000 ICM Telephone Final ICM polls.[23] Only include those “definite” to vote. Paired telephone/online polls by otherwise identical methodology
44% 49% 7% 5% 2,001 Online
9–13 June 46% 45% 9% 1% 1,002 ComRes Telephone
7–13 June 40% 47% 13% 7% 2,497 TNS Online
9–12 June 48% 49% 3% 1% 800 ORB Telephone Measures only those “definite” to vote
9–10 June 42% 43% 11% 1% 1,671 YouGov Online
7–10 June 44% 42% 13% 2% 2,009 Opinium Online
8–9 June 45% 55% N/A 10% 2,052 ORB Online Weighted according to “definite” voters
9 June The ITV Referendum Debate held on ITV.[24]
7 June The Prime Minister and Nigel Farage MEP answer audience questions on ITV.[24]
5–6 June 43% 42% 11% 1% 2,001 YouGov Online Remainder “won’t vote”
3–5 June 43% 48% 9% 5% 2,047 ICM Online
2–5 June 48% 47% 5% 1% 800 ORB Telephone Weighted according to “definite” to vote
1–3 June 41% 45% 11% 4% 3,405 YouGov Online
31 May–3 June 43% 41% 16% 2% 2,007 Opinium Online Weighted by new methodology[25]
40% 43% 16% 3% Weighted by previous methodology[26]
3 June Secretary of State for Justice and Vote Leave campaigner Michael Gove answers audience questions on Sky News.[24]
2 June Prime Minister and Stronger In campaigner David Cameron answers audience questions on Sky News.[24]
30–31 May 41% 41% 13% N/A 1,735 YouGov Online
27–29 May 42% 45% 15% 3% 1,004 ICM Telephone Paired telephone/online polls by otherwise identical methodology
44% 47% 9% 3% 2,052 Online
25–29 May 51% 46% 3% 5% 800 ORB Telephone
27 May Purdah begins: local and central government are prohibited from making announcements in a way that could affect the outcome of the referendum.[27][28]
26 May Office for National Statistics publishes its last quarterly report on migration before the referendum.[29]TV debate for young voters shown on BBC One.[24]
20–25 May 44% 45% 12% 1% 1,638 BMG Research Online
24 May 44% 38% 18% 6% 1,013 Survation Telephone
23–24 May 41% 41% 13% N/A 1,756 YouGov Online
19–23 May 41% 43% 16% 2% 1,213 TNS Online
20–22 May 45% 45% 10% N/A 2,003 ICM Online
18–22 May 55% 42% 3% 13% 800 ORB Telephone Poll was said to reflect the private polling conducted for the government[30]
17–19 May 44% 40% 14% 4% 2,008 Opinium Online
16–17 May 44% 40% 12% 4% 1,648 YouGov Online
14–17 May 52% 41% 7% 11% 1,000 ComRes Telephone
14–16 May 55% 37% 5% 18% 1,002 Ipsos MORI Telephone
13–15 May 47% 39% 14% 8% 1,002 ICM Telephone Paired telephone/online polls by otherwise identical methodology
43% 47% 10% 4% 2,048 Online
11–15 May 55% 40% 5% 15% 800 ORB Telephone
10–12 May 38% 41% 21% 3% 1,222 TNS Online
29 Apr–12 May 36% 39% 22% 3% 996 YouGov Telephone
29 Apr–12 May 38% 40% 16% 2% 1,973 YouGov Online
6–8 May 44% 46% 11% 2% 2,005 ICM Online
4–6 May 42% 40% 13% 2% 3,378 YouGov Online Remainder “won’t vote”
29 Apr–3 May 44% 45% 11% 1% 2,040 ICM Online
27–29 Apr 43% 46% 11% 3% 2,029 ICM Online
26–29 Apr 42% 41% 14% 1% 2,005 Opinium Online 24% of respondents preferred not to say; the stated percentages are of the other 76%
27–29 Apr 49% 51% N/A 2% 2,000 ORB Online
26–28 Apr 39% 36% 26% 3% 1,221 TNS Online
25–26 Apr 41% 42% 13% 1% 1,650 YouGov Online Remainder “won’t vote”
25–26 Apr 45% 38% 17% 7% 1,003 Survation Telephone
22–26 Apr 43% 45% 13% 2% 2,001 BMG Research Online
22–24 Apr 44% 46% 10% 2% 2,001 ICM Online
20–24 Apr 51% 43% 6% 8% 800 ORB Telephone
22 April President of the United States Barack Obama comments on the referendum debate, supporting the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union.[31]
16–19 Apr 51% 40% 9% 9% 1,002 ComRes Telephone
16–18 Apr 49% 39% 8% 10% 1,026 Ipsos MORI Telephone
15–17 May 48% 41% 11% 7% 1,003 ICM Telephone Paired telephone/online polls by otherwise identical methodology
43% 44% 13% 1% 2,008 Online
13–17 Apr 53% 41% 6% 12% 800 ORB Telephone
15 April The EU referendum campaign officially begins.[32]
12–14 Apr 38% 34% 28% 4% 1,198 TNS Online
12–14 Apr 40% 39% 16% 1% 3,371 YouGov Online Remainder “won’t vote”
13 April The Electoral Commission chooses Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe as the official Leave and Remain campaigns.[33][34]
11–12 Apr 39% 39% 17% N/A 1,693 YouGov Online Remainder “won’t vote”
7–11 Apr 35% 35% 30% N/A 1,198 TNS Online
8–10 Apr 45% 38% 17% 7% 1,002 ComRes Telephone
8–10 Apr 42% 45% 12% 3% 2,030 ICM Online
7 April HM Government starts sending a pro-Remain pamphlet to 27 million UK households and begins a pro-Remain digital advertising campaign.[35][36]
6–7 Apr 40% 38% 16% 2% 1,612 YouGov Online Remainder “won’t vote”
29 Mar–4 Apr 39% 38% 18% 1% 3,754 YouGov Online Remainder “won’t vote”
1–3 Apr 44% 43% 13% 1% 2,007 ICM Online
29 Mar–3 Apr 51% 44% 5% 7% 800 ORB Telephone
29 Mar–1 Apr 39% 43% 18% 4% 1,966 Opinium Online
24–29 Mar 35% 35% 30% N/A 1,193 TNS Online
24–29 Mar 41% 45% 14% 4% 1,518 BMG Research Online Includes Northern Ireland
24–28 Mar 51% 49% N/A 2% 2,002 ORB Online
22–24 Mar 45% 43% 12% 2% 1,970 ICM Online Original poll is no longer available on ICM Unlimted
19–22 Mar 49% 41% 10% 8% 1,023 Ipsos MORI Telephone
17–22 Mar 40% 37% 19% 3% 1,688 YouGov Online Remainder “won’t vote”
18–20 Mar 48% 41% 11% 7% 1,002 ComRes Telephone
18–20 Mar 41% 43% 17% 2% 2,000 ICM Online
17–19 Mar 46% 35% 19% 11% 1,006 Survation Telephone Includes Northern Ireland
11–14 Mar 47% 49% 4% 2% 823 ORB Telephone
11–13 Mar 43% 41% 16% 2% 2,031 ICM Online
4–11 Mar 45% 40% 16% 5% 2,282 Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Online
2–10 Mar 48% 45% 7% 3% 4,047 Populus/Number Cruncher Politics Online
4–6 Mar 49% 35% 15% 14% 966 Populus/Number Cruncher Politics Telephone
4–6 Mar 40% 41% 19% 1% 2,051 ICM Online
2–3 Mar 40% 37% 18% 3% 1,695 YouGov Online
1–2 Mar 40% 35% 19% 5% 1,705 YouGov Online
29 Feb–1 Mar 39% 37% 19% 2% 2,233 YouGov Online
26–29 Feb 41% 41% 18% N/A 2,003 ICM Online
26–28 Feb 39% 45% 18% 6% 2,071 Populus/Number Cruncher Politics Online
26–28 Feb 48% 37% 15% 11% 1,002 Populus/Number Cruncher Politics Telephone
24–25 Feb 48% 52% N/A 4% 2,014 ORB Online
21–23 Feb 37% 38% 25% 1% 3,482 YouGov Online
20 Feb David Cameron announces the date of UK’s In/Out EU referendum after an EU summit in Brussels.[37]
17–23 Feb 38% 36% 25% 2% 1,517 BMG Research Online Includes Northern Ireland
19–22 Feb 42% 40% 17% 2% 2,021 ICM Online
19–22 Feb 51% 39% 10% 12% 1,000 ComRes Telephone
13–20 Feb 45% 32% 23% 13% 938 Survation Telephone
18–19 Feb 40% 41% 19% 1% 1,033 Opinium Online Conducted before the conclusion of the negotiations; exact time frame was not communicated
13–16 Feb 54% 36% 10% 18% 497 Ipsos MORI Telephone
11–15 Feb 36% 39% 25% 3% 1,079 TNS Online
12–14 Feb 43% 39% 18% 4% 2,001 ICM Online Original poll is no longer available on ICM Unlimted
11–14 Feb 49% 41% 10% 8% 1,105 ComRes Telephone
5–7 Feb 41% 42% 17% 1% 2,018 ICM Online
3–4 Feb 36% 45% 19% 9% 1,675 YouGov/The Times Online
29–31 Jan 42% 39% 19% 3% 2,002 ICM Online
27–28 Jan 38% 42% 20% 4% 1,735 YouGov Online
23–25 Jan 55% 36% 9% 19% 513 Ipsos MORI Telephone
21–25 Jan 44% 42% 14% 2% 1,511 BMG Research Online Includes Northern Ireland
22–24 Jan 54% 36% 10% 18% 1,006 ComRes Telephone
22–24 Jan 41% 41% 18% N/A 2,010 ICM Online
20–21 Jan 52% 48% N/A 4% 2,015 ORB Online
15–17 Jan 42% 40% 17% 2% 2,023 ICM Online
15–16 Jan 38% 40% 22% 2% 1,017 Survation Online Includes Northern Ireland
8–14 Jan 42% 45% 12% 3% 2,087 Panelbase Online
8–10 Jan 44% 38% 18% 6% 2,055 ICM Online







Sub-national polling


[hide]Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Unsure Sample Held by
9–16 September 2015 40% 43% 17% 1,712 YouGov

England & Wales

[hide]Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Unsure Sample Held by
26 June–3 July 2015 42% 43% 15% 956 Panelbase/Sunday Times


[hide]Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Unsure Sample Held by
2-6 June 2016 48% 35% 13% 1,179 YouGov
26 April–1 May 2016 51% 34% 14% 1,005 Opinium/Evening Standard
4–6 January 2016 39% 34% 27% 1,156 YouGov/LBC
17–19 November 2014 45% 37% 14% 1,124 YouGov/Evening Standard
20–25 June 2013 41% 39% 20% 1,269 YouGov/Evening Standard


[hide]Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Unsure Sample Held by
6-12 Jun 2016 58% 33% 8% 1,000 Ipsos Mori/STV
4-22 May 2016 53% 24% 23% 1,008 TNS
6-10 May 2016 54% 32% 14% 1,000 ICM/The Scotsman
1-2 May 2016 58% 19% 19% 1,024 Survation/Daily Record
23-28 April 2016 57% 33% 11% 1,074 Panelbase/Sunday Times
18-25 April 2016 66% 29% 5% 1,015 Ipsos MORI/STV
1-24 April 2016 48% 21% 31% 1,012 TNS
15-20 April 2016 54% 28% 17% 1,005 Survation/Daily Record
11-15 April 2016 55% 35% 9% 1,013 BMG Research/Herald
6-15 April 2016 55% 33% 12% 1,021 Panelbase/Sunday Times
2-22 March 2016 51% 19% 29% 1,051 TNS
10-17 March 2016 53% 29% 17% 1,051 Survation/Daily Record
7–9 March 2016 48% 31% 21% 1,070 YouGov
11–16 February 2016 52% 27% 21% 951 Survation
1–7 February 2016 62% 26% 12% 1,000 Ipsos MORI
1–4 February 2016 55% 28% 18% 1,022 YouGov/The Times
6–25 January 2016 44% 21% 29% 1,016 TNS
8–14 January 2016 54% 30% 16% 1,053 Panelbase/Sunday Times
8–12 January 2016 52% 27% 21% 1,029 Survation/Daily Record
9–16 November 2015 65% 22% 13% 1,029 Ipsos MORI
9–13 October 2015 51% 31% 17% 1,026 YouGov/Times
9–30 September 2015 47% 18% 29% 1,037 TNS
22–27 September 2015 55% 30% 15% 1,004 YouGov
7–10 September 2015 51% 29% 20% 975 Survation/Scottish Daily Mail
26 June–3 July 2015 55% 29% 16% 1,002 Panelbase/Sunday Times
3–7 July 2015 51% 26% 23% 1,045 Survation/Scottish Daily Mail
13–30 May 2015 49% 19% 26% 1,031 TNS BMRB
19–21 May 2015 54% 25% 21% 1,001 YouGov/Sunday Post
29 January–2 February 2015 52% 29% 17% 1,001 YouGov/The Times
9–14 January 2015 42% 37% 21% 1,007 Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland
6–13 November 2014 47% 35% 18% 1,001 Survation/Daily Record
30 October−5 November 2014 41% 38% 19% 1,000 Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland
4–9 February 2013 54% 33% 13% 1,003 Ipsos MORI/The Times


[hide]Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Unsure Sample Held by
30 May-2 June 2016 41% 41% 18% 1,017 YouGov
7–11 April 2016 38% 39% 16% 1,011 YouGov
9–11 February 2016 37% 45% 18% 1,024 YouGov
21–24 September 2015 42% 38% 21% 1,010 YouGov
4–6 May 2015 47% 33% 16% 1,202 YouGov/ITV Wales
24–27 March 2015 44% 38% 14% 1,189 YouGov/ITV Wales
5–9 March 2015 43% 36% 17% 1,279 YouGov/ITV Wales
19–26 February 2015 63% 33% 4% 1,000 ICM/BBC
19–21 January 2015 44% 36% 16% 1,036 YouGov/ITV Wales
2–5 December 2014 42% 39% 15% 1,131 YouGov/ITV Wales
8–11 September 2014 43% 37% 15% 1,025 YouGov/ITV Wales
26 June–1 July 2014 41% 36% 18% 1,035 YouGov/ITV Wales
21–24 February 2014 54% 40% 6% 1,000 ICM/BBC
14–25 June 2013 29% 37% 35% 1,015 Beaufort Research

Northern Ireland

[hide]Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Unsure Sample Held by Notes
17-19 May 2016 57% 35% 9% 1,090 Lucid Talk
May 2016 44% 20% 35% 1,005 Ipsos MORI Question phrased differently.
19–21 October 2015 56.5% 28.3% 15.2% 2,517 Lucid Talk
2–16 October 2015 55% 13% 32% 1,012 BBC/RTÉ


[hide]Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Unsure Sample Held by
11-15 April 2016 88% 8% 3% 506 Gibraltar Chronicle

Renegotiated terms

The UK government renegotiated certain terms of the UK’s membership of the European Union before the referendum was held.[39] Prior to the renegotiation in February 2016, some opinion polls asked the referendum question on the assumption that the UK government would say that it was satisfied with the outcome of the renegotiation.[40]

Date(s) conducted Remain Leave Unsure Sample Held by Notes
1–2 June 2015 55% 24% 18% 1,063 YouGov/Prospect Northern Ireland not sampled
8–9 May 2015 58% 24% 16% 1,302 YouGov/Sunday Times Northern Ireland not sampled
3–4 May 2015 56% 20% 20% 1,664 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
19–20 April 2015 57% 22% 17% 2,078 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
22–23 March 2015 57% 22% 18% 1,641 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
22–23 February 2015 57% 21% 17% 1,772 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
25–26 January 2015 54% 25% 16% 1,656 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
18–19 January 2015 57% 21% 19% 1,747 YouGov/British Influence Northern Ireland not sampled
14–15 Dec 2014 55% 24% 16% 1,648 YouGov/The Sun
30 Nov – 1 Dec 2014 55% 25% 17% 1,763 YouGov/The Sun
17–19 November 2014 58% 25% 13% 1,124 YouGov / The Evening Standard
16–17 November 2014 58% 24% 14% 1,589 YouGov / The Sun
4–7 November 2014 40% 43% 17% 1,707 Opinium/The Observer
2–3 November 2014 52% 27% 15% 1,652 YouGov / The Sun
19–20 October 2014 55% 24% 17% 1,727 YouGov / The Sun
21–22 September 2014 54% 25% 16% 1,671 YouGov / The Sun
25–26 August 2014 54% 26% 16% 2,021 YouGov / The Sun
10–11 August 2014 54% 23% 18% 1,676 YouGov / The Sun
13–14 July 2014 52% 25% 19% 1,745 YouGov / The Sun
29–30 June 2014 54% 23% 17% 1,729 YouGov / The Sun
15–16 June 2014 57% 22% 16% 1,696 YouGov / The Sun
18–19 May 2014 53% 24% 18% 1,740 YouGov Northern Ireland not sampled
24–25 April 2014 50% 26% 18% 1,835 YouGov/Sunday Times Northern Ireland not sampled
21–22 April 2014 52% 26% 18% 2,190 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
23–24 March 2014 54% 25% 17% 2,190 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
9–10 March 2014 52% 27% 16% 3,195 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
9–10 February 2014 47% 27% 18% 1,685 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
12–13 January 2014 48% 29% 18% 1,762 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
12–13 May 2013 45% 33% 19% 1,748 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
9–10 May 2013 45% 32% 20% 1,945 YouGov/Sunday Times Northern Ireland not sampled
7–8 April 2013 46% 31% 17% 1,765 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled
17–18 February 2013 52% 28% 14% 1,713 YouGov/The Sun Northern Ireland not sampled

Polling within professional groups

Business leaders

The British Chambers of Commerce surveyed 2,200 business leaders in January and February 2016. Of these, 60% supported remaining in the EU and 30% supported exit. In a further poll published in May, these numbers had changed to 54% and 37% respectively.[41][42]

The Confederation of British Industry reported a survey of 773 of its members, carried out by ComRes. With numbers adjusted to reflect CBI membership, the poll indicated that 80% of CBI members saw a “remain” outcome as the best outcome for their business, with 5% seeing “leave” as the best outcome.[43][44][45]

In a poll of 350 board directors of UK businesses, published in June 2015, 82% agreed with the statement that “the UK’s membership of the EU is good for British businesses”, while 12% disagreed.[46][47] In a follow-up poll reported in March 2016, 63% agreed that “British businesses are better off inside the European Union than out of it” while 20% disagreed.[47][48] To the statement, “An EU exit risks stifling British business growth,” 59% agreed and 30% disagreed. To the statement, “Our membership of the EU gives British businesses invaluable access to European markets,” 71% agreed and 16% disagreed. Thirty-five per cent agreed that “An EU exit would leave British businesses facing a skills shortage” while 50% disagreed.[48]

The manufacturers’ organisation EEF used the market research organisation GfK to conduct a survey in late 2015 of 500 senior decision-makers in manufacturing organisations. Of these, 63% wanted the UK to stay in the EU, and 5% wanted it to leave. Three percent said there was no advantage to their businesses for the UK to be in the EU, against 50% who said it was important and a further 20% who said it was critical for their business.[49][50]

Two surveys by consultants Deloitte asked 120 Chief Financial Officers of large UK companies “whether it is in the interests of UK businesses for the UK to remain a member of the EU.” In the first survey, in the final quarter of 2015, 62% agreed while 6% disagreed. A further 28% said they would withhold their judgement until the renegotiation in February 2016. The second survey, in early 2016, had 75% saying it was in the interest of UK businesses to remain, with 8% saying it was not.[51][52]

In April 2016, the International Chamber of Commerce published a survey of 226 businesses from 27 different countries. Of these international businesses, 46% said they would reduce investment in the UK if it left the EU, while 1% said Brexit would increase their investment in the UK. As to whether the UK should leave the EU, 8% thought it should, while 86% wanted the UK to remain.[53][54][55]

In May 2016, law firm King & Wood Mallesons published a survey of 300 businesses, equally split between France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Asked about the prospect of the UK leaving the EU, 68% said it would adversely affect their businesses and 62% said they would be less likely to do business in the UK. When asked to name ways in which their businesses could benefit from Brexit, a majority of respondents in France, Italy, and Spain said that their countries could benefit as companies move jobs out of the UK.[56][57]


In March 2016, Nature reported a survey of 907 active science researchers based in the UK. Of these, 78% said exit from the EU would be “somewhat harmful” or “very harmful” for UK science, with 9% saying it would be “somewhat beneficial” or “very beneficial”. Asked, “Should the UK exit the EU or remain?” 83% chose “remain” and 12% “exit”.[58] The journal also surveyed a further 954 scientists based in the EU but outside the UK. Of these, 47% said the UK’s exit would be “harmful” or “very harmful” for science in the EU, with 11.5% choosing “beneficial” or “very beneficial”.[58]


Legal Week surveyed almost 350 partners in legal firms. Of these, 77% said that a UK exit from the EU would have a “negative” or “very negative” effect on the City‘s position in global financial markets, with 6.2% predicting a “positive” effect. Asked about the effect on their own firms, 59% of the partners predicted a “quite adverse” or “very adverse” effect, while 13% said the effect would be “quite positive” or “very positive”.[59]


The Financial Times surveyed 105 economists about how an exit from the EU would affect their views of the UK’s prospects, publishing the results in January 2016. In the medium term, 76 respondents (72%) said the UK’s prospects would be worse, 8 (7.6%) said they would be better, and 18 (17%) predicted no difference.[60]

Ipsos MORI surveyed members of the Royal Economic Society and the Society of Business Economists for The Observer, with 639 responses. Over the next five years, 88% said that Brexit would have a negative effect on GDP, 7% said it would have no impact, and 3% said there would it would have a positive impact, while 82% said it would have a negative effect on household incomes, 9% said it would have no impact, and 7% said it would have a positive effect. Over ten to twenty years, 72% said it would have a negative effect on GDP, 11% said it would have no impact and 11% said it would have a positive effect, while 73% said it would have a negative effect on household income, 13% said it would have no impact, and 10% said it would have a positive effect.[61][62]

Other opinion polling

In a poll released in December 2015, Lord Ashcroft asked 20,000 people in the UK to place themselves on a scale of 0-100 of how likely they were vote to remain or leave. A total of 47% placed themselves in the “leave” end of the scale, 38% in the “remain” end and 14% were completely undecided.[63][64]

On British withdrawal

  •  France – A poll conducted by French daily newspaper Le Parisien in January 2013 found that 52% of French voters were in favour of the UK withdrawing from the EU.[65] Of the 1,136 people polled, in conjunction with French research agency BVA in January 2013, 48% said they would rather the UK remained inside the EU.[66]
  •  Germany – A study carried out by Internationale Politik in January 2013 found 64% of Germans favoured Britain remaining inside the EU – with 36% saying they favoured an exit. The biggest support for retaining the union with the UK was with the younger generation with 69% of 18- to 25-year-olds saying they wanted the UK to stay. Amongst theGerman political parties, the supporters of the Green Party remained most favourable at 85%.[67]

Ashcroft polling

In early 2016, Lord Ashcroft polled individuals in each of the other European Union member states to gauge opinion on whether they thought the United Kingdom should leave the EU, whether they thought the UK should remain a member or whether they believed it didn’t matter. All member states said that they wanted the UK to remain a member, except Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, with Lithuania being most in favour, at 78% voting for the UK to remain in the EU.[68]

Country Remain Doesn’t matter Leave
 Austria 41% 41% 19%
 Belgium 49% 38% 13%
 Bulgaria 67% 27% 7%
 Croatia 49% 41% 10%
 Cyprus 35% 45% 19%
 Czech Republic 40% 47% 13%
 Denmark 56% 31% 13%
 Estonia 65% 28% 8%
 Finland 50% 39% 11%
 France 50% 32% 18%
 Germany 59% 30% 11%
 Greece 50% 35% 15%
 Hungary 64% 30% 7%
 Ireland 72% 18% 10%
 Italy 67% 24% 9%
 Latvia 58% 33% 9%
 Lithuania 78% 16% 6%
 Luxembourg 55% 21% 24%
 Malta 76% 18% 6%
 Netherlands 49% 42% 10%
 Poland 67% 27% 6%
 Portugal 74% 20% 7%
 Romania 70% 26% 4%
 Slovakia 61% 32% 7%
 Slovenia 43% 49% 8%
 Spain 70% 24% 6%
 Sweden 56% 33% 12%
 EU27 60% 30% 10%

Additionally, Ashcroft asked the same group of people whether they would be happy for Britain to remain in the European Union to renegotiated terms or whether they thought the UK should leave if they don’t like their current terms of membership. Newer countries to the European Union, countries which have joined the Union since 2004, were the biggest supporters: 52% supported the renegotiated position, compared to just 40% of respondents from EU members who joined before 2004.

Country Remain Leave
 Austria 24% 76%
 Belgium 34% 66%
 Bulgaria 52% 48%
 Croatia 36% 64%
 Cyprus 33% 67%
 Czech Republic 42% 58%
 Denmark 51% 49%
 Estonia 44% 56%
 Finland 30% 70%
 France 36% 64%
 Germany 35% 65%
 Greece 39% 61%
 Hungary 61% 39%
 Ireland 54% 46%
 Italy 50% 50%
 Latvia 49% 51%
 Lithuania 64% 36%
 Luxembourg 26% 74%
 Malta 69% 31%
 Netherlands 37% 63%
 Poland 52% 48%
 Portugal 61% 39%
 Romania 59% 41%
 Slovakia 47% 53%
 Slovenia 29% 71%
 Spain 43% 57%
 Sweden 37% 63%
 EU27 43% 57%

ICM polling

An ICM online poll of 1,000 adults in each of nine European countries in November 2015 found an average of 53% in favour of the UK’s remaining in the EU.[69]

Country Remain Leave
 Denmark 46% 24%
 Finland 49% 19%
 France 51% 22%
 Germany 55% 19%
 Italy 63% 20%
 Norway 34% 27%
 Portugal 74% 8%
 Spain 69% 11%
 Sweden 43% 26%

On the possible withdrawal of other countries

  • Denmark Denmark – A poll commissioned in January 2013 following David Cameron’s EU referendum speech found that 52% of Danes would still want their country to stay within the EU even if the UK voted to withdraw. However, 47% said they would like the Danish Government to attempt to renegotiate improved terms of their membership.[70][71]
  • Republic of Ireland Ireland – A Red C poll, commissioned by European Movement Ireland in January 2013, found most Irish people would opt for Ireland to remain inside the EU – 66% – even if the UK decided to leave. Just 29% of those asked said that Ireland should leave if the UK does.

Procedure for leaving the EU

The Treaty on European Union provides member states with the right to leave the Union: ‘any member state may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements’.[36]

Article 50 of the Treaty provides a legal framework for EU member states seeking to leave the Union. Once a Head of State has notified the Council of its intent to leave the EU, a negotiation period begins during which a leaving agreement is to be negotiated outlining the country’s future relationship with the Union.[37] The country seeking to leave the Union will be required to secure support from at least 72 percent of the continuing member states representing at least 65 percent of their population, as well as consent from the European Parliament.[36]

Because of the need for a negotiation process, the 2016 referendum does not directly bind the government to specific actions; in this, it is similar to the Scottish independence referendum, 2014. A vote to leave will initiate the negotiation process, but not cause immediate withdrawal.[38]

A number of commentators have suggested the possibility of a second referendum to “confirm” the decision to leave following negotiations, but there is no established formal process for such a move. The Constitution Unit note that Article 50 negotiations cannot be used to renegotiate the conditions of future membership and that Article 50 does not provide the legal basis of withdrawing a decision to leave.[38] Both the British government and a substantial number of European politicians have stated they would expect a leave vote to be followed by withdrawal, not by a second vote.[39]

European Union

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background
Motto: United in diversity[1][2][3]
Anthem: Ode to Joy(orchestral)[2]

Capital Brussels (de facto)[4]
50°51′N 4°21′E
Largest cities London and Parisa
Official languages
Demonym European[5]
Type Politicoeconomicunion
Member states
 • President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker
 • President of the European Council Donald Tusk
 • President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz
Legislature Council of the EU
European Parliament
 • Treaty of Rome 1 January 1958
 • Treaty of Maastricht 1 November 1993
 • Total 4,324,782 km2 (7th)
1,669,808 sq mi
 • Water (%) 3.08
 • 2015 estimate 508,191,116[7] (3rd)
 • Density 115.8/km2
300.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2015 estimate
 • Total $19.205 trillion[8](2nd)
 • Per capita $37,852[8] (18thb)
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
 • Total $16.220 trillion[8](2nd)
 • Per capita $31,918[8] (15thb)
Gini (2010) 30.4[9]
HDI (2011) Increase 0.876[10]
very high · 13thb
Time zone WET (UTC)c
 • Summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
Internet TLD .eu[a]
a. ^ London and Paris are the largest cities in the European Union by urban population.[11]
b. ^ Ranked as a combined single entity.
c. ^ Not including outermost regions.


The European Union (EU) is an economicpolitical union of 28 member statesthat are located primarily in Europe.[12][13] It covers an area of 4,324,782 km2, with an estimated population of over 508 million. It operates through a hybrid system of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making.[14][15] Its institutions are: the European Council, the Council of the European Union, theEuropean Parliament, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the European Court of Auditors.

The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area,passport controls have been abolished.[16] EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital,[17] enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade,[18]agriculture,[19] fisheries, and regional development.[20] The monetary unionwas established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002. It is currently composed of 19 member states that use the euro as their legal tender.

The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community(ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958, respectively. In the intervening years, the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993 and introduced European citizenship. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2014 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 18.495 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately 24% of global nominal GDP and 17% when measured in terms of purchasing power parity.[23] Additionally, 26 out of 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the UNDP. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[24] Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the WTO, the G8, and the G-20. Because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as a current or as a potential superpower.


Preliminary (1945–57)

After World War II, European integration was seen as an antidote to the extreme nationalism which had devastated the continent.[26] The 1948 Hague Congress was a pivotal moment in European federal history, as it led to the creation of theEuropean Movement International and of the College of Europe, where Europe’s future leaders would live and study together.[27] 1952 saw the creation of theEuropean Coal and Steel Community, which was declared to be “a first step in the federation of Europe.”[28] The supporters of the Community included Alcide De Gasperi, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and Paul-Henri Spaak.[29]

Treaty of Rome (1957–92)

The continental territories of the member states of the European Union (European Communities pre-1993), coloured in order of accession.

In 1957, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands andWest Germany signed the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community (EEC) and established a customs union. They also signed another pact creating the European Atomic Energy Community(Euratom) for co-operation in developing nuclear energy. Both treaties came into force in 1958.[29]

The EEC and Euratom were created separately from ECSC, although they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly. The EEC was headed by Walter Hallstein (Hallstein Commission) and Euratom was headed by Louis Armand (Armand Commission) and then Étienne Hirsch. Euratom was to integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union among members.[30][31]

Through the 1960s, tensions began to show, with France seeking to limit supranational power. Nevertheless, in 1965 an agreement was reached and on 1 July 1967 the Merger Treaty created a single set of institutions for the three communities, which were collectively referred to as the European Communities.[32][33] Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission (Rey Commission).[34]

In 1989, the Iron Curtain fell, enabling the union to expand further (Berlin Wall pictured).

In 1973, the Communities enlarged to include Denmark (including Greenland, which later left the Community in 1985, following a dispute over fishing rights), Ireland, and the United Kingdom.[35] Norway had negotiated to join at the same time, but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendum. In 1979, the first direct elections to the European Parliament were held.[36]

Greece joined in 1981, Portugal and Spain following in 1986.[37] In 1985, theSchengen Agreement paved the way for the creation of open borders without passport controls between most member states and some non-member states.[38]In 1986, the European flag began to be used by the Community[39] and the Single European Act was signed.

In 1990, after the fall of the Eastern Bloc, the former East Germany became part of the Community as part of a reunified Germany.[40] With further enlargement planned to include the former communist states, as well as Cyprus and Malta, the Copenhagen criteria for candidate members to join the EU were agreed upon in June 1993.

Maastricht Treaty (1992–present)

The euro was introduced in 2002, replacing 12 national currencies. Seven countries have since joined.

The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty—whose main architects were Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand—came into force on 1 November 1993.[21] The treaty also gave the name European Community to the EEC, even if it was referred as such before the treaty. In 1995, Austria, Finland, andSweden joined the EU. In 2002, euro banknotes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. Since then, the eurozone has increased to encompass 19 countries. In 2004, the EU saw its biggest enlargement to date whenCyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland,Slovakia and Slovenia joined the Union.[41] In 2007, Romania and Bulgaria became EU members. The same year, Slovenia adopted the euro,[41] followed in 2008 byCyprus and Malta, by Slovakia in 2009, by Estonia in 2011, by Latvia in 2014 and byLithuania in 2015.

2009, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force.

On 1 December 2009, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force and reformed many aspects of the EU. In particular, it changed the legal structure of the European Union, merging the EU three pillars system into a single legal entity provisioned with a legal personality, created a permanent President of the European Council, the first of which was Herman Van Rompuy, and strengthened the position of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.[42] In 2012, the EU received the Nobel Peace Prize for having “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe.[43][44] In 2013,Croatia became the 28th EU member.[45][46][47]

Structural evolution

The following timeline illustrates the integration that has led to the formation of the present union, in terms of structural development driven by international treaties:

In force
Brussels Treaty
Paris Treaty
Modified Brussels Treaty
Rome treaties
Merger Treaty
European Council conclusion
Schengen Treaty
Single European Act
Maastricht Treaty
Amsterdam Treaty
Nice Treaty
Lisbon Treaty
Three pillars of the European Union:
European Communities:
European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)
European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty expired in 2002 European Union(EU)
European Economic Community (EEC)
Schengen Rules European Community (EC)
TREVI Justice and Home Affairs(JHA)
Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters(PJCC)
European Political Cooperation (EPC) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
Unconsolidated bodies Western European Union (WEU)
Treaty terminated in 2011


Coast of Cyprus
The 65,993 km (41,006 mi) coastline dominates the European climate (Cyprus).
Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest peak in the EU.

The EU’s member states cover an area of 4,423,147 square kilometres (1,707,787 sq mi).[b] The EU’s highest peak is Mont Blanc in the Graian Alps, 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft) above sea level.[48] The lowest points in the EU are Lammefjorden, Denmark and Zuidplaspolder,Netherlands, at 7 m (23 ft) below sea level.[49] The landscape, climate, and economy of the EU are influenced by its coastline, which is 65,993 kilometres (41,006 mi) long.

Including the overseas territories of France which are located outside the continent of Europe, but which are members of the union, the EU experiences most types of climatefrom Arctic (North-East Europe) to tropical (French Guyana), rendering meteorological averages for the EU as a whole meaningless. The majority of the population lives in areas with a temperate maritime climate (North-Western Europe and Central Europe), a Mediterranean climate (Southern Europe), or a warm summer continental or hemiboreal climate (Northern Balkans and Central Europe).[50]

The EU’s population is highly urbanised, with some 75% of inhabitants (and growing, projected to be 90% in seven member states by 2020) living in urban areas. Cities are largely spread out across the EU, although with a large grouping in and around the Benelux. An increasing percentage of this is due to low density urban sprawl which is extending into natural areas. In some cases, this urban growth has been due to the influx of EU funds into a region.[51]

Member states

Map of the European Union in the world with overseas countries and territories and outermost regions.

Through successive enlargements, the European Union has grown from the six founding states—Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands—to the current 28. Countries accede to the union by becoming party to the founding treaties, thereby subjecting themselves to the privileges and obligations of EU membership. This entails a partial delegation of sovereignty to the institutions in return for representation within those institutions, a practice often referred to as “pooling of sovereignty”.

To become a member, a country must meet theCopenhagen criteria, defined at the 1993 meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen. These require a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law; a functioning market economy; and the acceptance of the obligations of membership, including EU law. Evaluation of a country’s fulfilment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Council.[54] No member state has ever left the Union, although Greenland (an autonomous province of Denmark) withdrew in 1985.[55] The Lisbon Treaty now contains a clause providing for a member to leave the EU.[56]

There are six countries that are recognized as candidates for membership: Albania, Iceland, Macedonia,[c] Montenegro,Serbia, and Turkey,[57] though Iceland suspended negotiations in 2013.[58] Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are officially recognised as potential candidates,[57] with Bosnia and Herzegovina having submitted a membership application.

The four countries forming the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are not EU members, but have partly committed to the EU’s economy and regulations: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are a part of the single market through theEuropean Economic Area, and Switzerland, which has similar ties through bilateral treaties.[59][60] The relationships of theEuropean microstates, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican include the use of the euro and other areas of co-operation.[61] The following 28 sovereign states (of which the map only shows territories situated in and around Europe) constitute the European Union:[62]

Republic of Finland Kingdom of Sweden Republic of Estonia Republic of Latvia Republic of Lithuania Republic of Poland Slovak Republic Hungary Romania Republic of Bulgaria Hellenic Republic Republic of Cyprus Czech Republic Republic of Austria Republic of Slovenia Italian Republic Republic of Malta Portuguese Republic Kingdom of Spain French Republic Federal Republic of Germany Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Kingdom of Belgium Kingdom of the Netherlands Kingdom of Denmark United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Ireland

Map showing the member states of the European Union (clickable)

About this image
Name Capital Accession Population[7] Area (km2)
 Austria Vienna 1 January 1995 8,584,926 83,855
 Belgium Brussels Founder 11,258,434 30,528
 Bulgaria Sofia 1 January 2007 7,202,198 110,994
 Croatia Zagreb 1 July 2013 4,225,316 56,594
 Cyprus Nicosia 1 May 2004 1,141,166 9,251
 Czech Republic Prague 1 May 2004 10,538,275 78,866
 Denmark Copenhagen 1 January 1973 5,659,715 43,075
 Estonia Tallinn 1 May 2004 1,313,271 45,227
 Finland Helsinki 1 January 1995 5,471,753 338,424
 France Paris Founder 66,352,469 640,679
 Germany Berlin Founder[d] 81,174,000 357,021
 Greece Athens 1 January 1981 10,812,467 131,990
 Hungary Budapest 1 May 2004 9,849,000 93,030
 Ireland Dublin 1 January 1973 4,625,885 70,273
 Italy Rome Founder 60,795,612 301,338
 Latvia Riga 1 May 2004 1,986,096 64,589
 Lithuania Vilnius 1 May 2004 2,921,262 65,200
 Luxembourg Luxembourg City Founder 562,958 2,586
 Malta Valletta 1 May 2004 429,344 316
 Netherlands Amsterdam Founder 16,900,726 41,543
 Poland Warsaw 1 May 2004 38,005,614 312,685
 Portugal Lisbon 1 January 1986 10,374,822 92,390
 Romania Bucharest 1 January 2007 19,861,408 238,391
 Slovakia Bratislava 1 May 2004 5,421,349 49,035
 Slovenia Ljubljana 1 May 2004 2,062,874 20,273
 Spain Madrid 1 January 1986 46,439,864 504,030
 Sweden Stockholm 1 January 1995 9,747,355 449,964
 United Kingdom London 1 January 1973 64,767,115 243,610


Viru Bog in Lahemaa National Parkin Estonia, a protected habitat under theHabitats Directive

In 1957, when the EEC was founded, it had no environmental policy.[63] Over the past 50 years, an increasingly dense network of legislation has been created, extending to all areas of environmental protection, including air pollution, water quality, waste management, nature conservation, and the control of chemicals, industrial hazards and biotechnology.[64] According to the Institute for European Environmental Policy, environmental law comprises over 500 Directives, Regulations and Decisions, making environmental policy a core area of European politics.[65]

European policy-makers originally increased the EU’s capacity to act on environmental issues by defining it as a trade problem.[66] Trade barriers and competitive distortions in the Common Market could emerge due to the different environmental standards in each member state.[67] In subsequent years, the environment became a formal policy area, with its own policy actors, principles and procedures. The legal basis for EU environmental policy was established with the introduction of the Single European Act in 1987.[65]

A black stork, a protected species under Regulation (EC) No. 338/97

Initially, EU environmental policy focused on Europe. More recently, the EU has demonstrated leadership in global environmental governance, e.g. the role of the EU in securing the ratification and coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol despite opposition from the United States. This international dimension is reflected in the EU’s Sixth Environmental Action Programme,[68] which recognises that its objectives can only be achieved if key international agreements are actively supported and properly implemented both at EU level and worldwide. The Lisbon Treaty further strengthened the leadership ambitions.[69] EU law has played a significant role in improving habitat and species protection in Europe, as well as contributing to improvements in air and water quality and waste management.[65]

Mitigating climate change is one of the top priorities of EU environmental policy. In 2007, member states agreed that, in future, 20% of the energy used across the EU must be renewable, and carbon dioxide emissions have to be lower in 2020 by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels.[70] The EU has adopted an emissions trading system to incorporate carbon emissions into the economy.[71] The European Green Capital is an annual award given to cities that focuses on the environment, energy efficiency and quality of life in urban areas to create smart city.


The European Union operates according to the principles of conferral (which says that it should act only within the limits of the competences conferred on it by the treaties) and of subsidiarity (which says that it should act only where an objective cannot be sufficiently achieved by the member states acting alone). Laws made by the EU institutions are passed in a variety of forms. Generally speaking, they can be classified into two groups: those which come into force without the necessity for national implementation measures (regulations) and those which specifically require national implementation measures (directives).[72]

Constitutional nature

Further information: Treaties of the European Union

Political system of the European Union

The classification of the EU in terms of international or constitutional law has been much debated. It began life as an international organisation and gradually developed into a confederation of states. However, since the mid-1960s it has also added several of the key attributes of a federation, such as the direct effect of the law of the general level of government upon the individual[73] and majority voting in the decision-making process of the general level of government,[74] without becoming a federation per se. Scholars thus today see it as an intermediate form lying between a confederation and a federation, being an instance of neither political structure.[75] For this reason, the organisation is termed sui generis (incomparable, one of a kind),[76] although some argue that this designation is no longer valid.[77][78]

The organisation has traditionally used the terms “Community” and later “Union” to describe itself. The difficulties of classification involve the difference between national law (where the subjects of the law include natural persons and corporations) and international law (where the subjects include sovereign states and international organizations). They can also be seen in the light of differing European and American constitutional traditions.[77] Especially in terms of the European tradition, the term federation is equated with a sovereign federal state in international law; so the EU cannot be called a federation — at least, not without qualification. It is, however, described as being based on a federal model or federal in nature; and so it may be appropriate to consider it a federal union of states, a conceptual structure lying between the confederation of states and the federal state.[79] The German Constitutional Court refers to the EU as a Staatenverbund, an intermediate structure between the Staatenbund (confederation of states) and the Bundesstaat (federal state), consistent with this concept.[80] This may be a long-lived political form. Professor Andrew Moravcsik claims that the EU is unlikely to develop further into a federal state, but instead has reached maturity as a constitutional system.[81]


The European Union has seven institutions: the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank and theEuropean Court of Auditors. Competence in scrutinising and amending legislation is shared between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, while executive tasks are performed by the European Commission and in a limited capacity by the European Council (not to be confused with the aforementioned Council of the European Union). Themonetary policy of the eurozone is determined by the European Central Bank. The interpretation and the application of EU law and the treaties are ensured by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The EU budget is scrutinised by the European Court of Auditors. There are also a number of ancillary bodies which advise the EU or operate in a specific area.

Institutions of the European Union [82]

European Council
– Provides impetus and direction –
Council of the European Union
Europarl logo.svg

European Parliament

European Commission Logo.gif

European Commission

Members of the European Council 2011
EU Council room
European Parliament
European Commission building
  • acts together with the Council as a legislature
  • shares with the Council the budgetary power and decides in the last instance on the budget
  • exerts the democratic control over the institutions including the European Commission and approves the Commission members
  • based in and plenary sessions in Strasbourg, primarily meets inBrussels
Emblem of the Court of Justice of the European Union.svg

Court of Justice of the European Union

Logo European Central Bank.svg

European Central Bank
Central bank


European Court of Auditors
Financial auditor

ECJ room
European Central Bank
ECA building
  • ensures the uniform application and interpretation ofEuropean law
  • has the power to decide legal disputes between member states, the institutions, businesses and individuals
  • based in Luxembourg

European Council

The European Council gives political direction to the EU. It convenes at least four times a year and comprises the President of the European Council (currently Donald Tusk), the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state (either its head of stateor head of government). The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (currently Federica Mogherini) also takes part in its meetings. It has been described by some as the Union’s “supreme political authority”.[83] It is actively involved in the negotiation oftreaty changes and defines the EU’s policy agenda and strategies.

The European Council uses its leadership role to sort out disputes between member states and the institutions, and to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies. It acts externally as a “collective head of state” and ratifies important documents (for example, international agreements and treaties).[84]

Tasks for the President of the European Council are ensuring the external representation of the EU,[85] driving consensus and resolving divergences among member states, both during meetings of the European Council and over the periods between them.

The European Council should not be mistaken for the Council of Europe, an international organisation independent of the EU based in Strasbourg.

Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union (also called the “Council”[86] and the “Council of Ministers”, its former title)[87] forms one half of the EU’s legislature. It consists of a government minister from each member state and meets in different compositions depending on the policy area being addressed. Notwithstanding its different configurations, it is considered to be one single body.[88] In addition to its legislative functions, the Council also exercises executive functions in relations to the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

European Parliament

The hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg

The European Parliament forms the other half of the EU’s legislature. The 751Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every five years on the basis of proportional representation. Although MEPs are elected on a national basis, they sit according to political groupsrather than their nationality. Each country has a set number of seats and is divided into sub-national constituencies where this does not affect the proportional nature of the voting system.[89]

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas under the ordinary legislative procedure. This also applies to the EU budget. The European Commission is accountable to Parliament, requiring its approval to take office, having to report back to it and subject to motions of censure from it. ThePresident of the European Parliament (currently Martin Schulz) carries out the role of speaker in Parliament and represents it externally. The President and Vice-Presidents are elected by MEPs every two and a half years.[90]

European Commission

The European Commission acts as the EU’s executive arm and is responsible for initiating legislation and the day-to-day running of the EU. The Commission is also seen as the motor ofEuropean integration. It operates as a cabinet government, with 28 Commissioners for different areas of policy, one from each member state, though Commissioners are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state.

One of the 28 is the President of the European Commission (currently Jean-Claude Juncker) appointed by the European Council. After the President, the most prominent Commissioner is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who is ex-officio aVice-President of the Commission and is also chosen by the European Council.[91] The other 26 Commissioners are subsequently appointed by the Council of the European Union in agreement with the nominated President. The 28 Commissioners as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.


Circle frame.svg

The 2011 EU budget (€141.9 bn)[92]

  Cohesion and competitiveness for growth and employment (45%)
  Direct aids and market related expenditures (31%)
  Rural development (11%)
  EU as a global partner (6%)
  Administration (6%)
  Citizenship, freedom, security and justice (1%)

The EU had an agreed budget of €120.7 billion for the year 2007 and €864.3 billion for the period 2007–2013,[93] representing 1.10% and 1.05% of the EU-27’s GNI forecast for the respective periods. By comparison, the United Kingdom’s expenditure for 2004 was estimated to be €759 billion, and France was estimated to have spent €801 billion. In 1960, the budget of the then European Economic Community was 0.03% of GDP.[94]

In the 2010 budget of €141.5 billion, the largest single expenditure item is “cohesion & competitiveness” with around 45% of the total budget.[95] Next comes “agriculture” with approximately 31% of the total.[95]Rural development, environment and fisheries” takes up around 11%.[95]Administration” accounts for around 6%.[95] The “EU as a global partner” and “citizenship, freedom, security and justice” bring up the rear with approximately 6% and 1% respectively.[95]

The Court of Auditors is legally obliged to provide the Parliament and the Council with “a statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions”.[96] The Court also gives opinions and proposals on financial legislation and anti-fraud actions.[97] The Parliament uses this to decide whether to approve the Commission’s handling of the budget.

The European Court of Auditors has signed off the European Union accounts every year since 2007 and, while making it clear that the European Commission has more work to do, has highlighted that most of the errors take place at national level.[98][99] In their report on 2009 the auditors found that five areas of Union expenditure, agricultureand the cohesion fund, were materially affected by error.[100] The European Commission estimated in 2009 that the financial impact of irregularities was €1,863 million.[101]


EU member states retain all powers not explicitly handed to the European Union. In some areas the EU enjoys exclusive competence. These are areas in which member states have renounced any capacity to enact legislation. In other areas the EU and its member states share the competence to legislate. While both can legislate, member states can only legislate to the extent to which the EU has not. In other policy areas the EU can only co-ordinate, support and supplement member state action but cannot enact legislation with the aim of harmonising national laws.[102]

That a particular policy area falls into a certain category of competence is not necessarily indicative of what legislative procedure is used for enacting legislation within that policy area. Different legislative procedures are used within the same category of competence, and even with the same policy area.

The distribution of competences in various policy areas between Member States and the Union is divided in the following three categories:

As outlined in Title I of Part I of the consolidated Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Exclusive competence
Shared competence
Supporting competence
The Union has exclusive competence to make directives and conclude international agreements when provided for in a Union legislative act.
Member States cannot exercise competence in areas where the Union has done so.
Union exercise of competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs in” …
  • research, technological development and (outer) space
  • development cooperation, humanitarian aid
The Union coordinates Member States policies or implements supplemental to theirs common policies, not covered elsewhere
The Union can carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement Member States’ actions in” …
  • the protection and improvement of human health
  • industry
  • culture
  • tourism
  • education, youth, sport and vocational training
  • civil protection (disaster prevention)
  • administrative cooperation

Legal system

The Court of Justice, seated inLuxembourg.

The EU is based on a series of treaties. These first established the European Community and the EU, and then made amendments to those founding treaties.[103]These are power-giving treaties which set broad policy goals and establish institutions with the necessary legal powers to implement those goals. These legal powers include the ability to enact legislation[e] which can directly affect all member states and their inhabitants.[f] The EU has legal personality, with the right to sign agreements and international treaties.[104]

Under the principle of supremacy, national courts are required to enforce the treaties that their member states have ratified, and thus the laws enacted under them, even if doing so requires them to ignore conflicting national law, and (within limits) even constitutional provisions.[g]

Courts of Justice

The judicial branch of the EU—formally called the Court of Justice of the European Union—consists of three courts: theCourt of Justice, the General Court, and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. Together they interpret and apply the treaties and the law of the EU.[105]

The Court of Justice primarily deals with cases taken by member states, the institutions, and cases referred to it by the courts of member states.[106] The General Court mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EU’s courts,[107] and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal adjudicates in disputes between the European Union and its civil service.[108] Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice but only on a point of law.[109]

Fundamental rights

The ceremony of the 1990 Sakharov Prize awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi byMartin Schulz, inside the Parliament’s Strasbourg hemicycle, in 2013.

The treaties declare that the EU itself is “founded on the values of respect forhuman dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities … in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”[110]

In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty gave legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The charter is a codified catalogue of fundamental rightsagainst which the EU’s legal acts can be judged. It consolidates many rights which were previously recognised by the Court of Justice and derived from the “constitutional traditions common to the member states.”[111] The Court of Justice has long recognised fundamental rights and has, on occasion, invalidated EU legislation based on its failure to adhere to those fundamental rights.[112]

Although signing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is a condition for EU membership,[h] previously, the EU itself could not accede to the Convention as it is neither a state[i] nor had the competence to accede.[j] The Lisbon Treaty and Protocol 14 to the ECHR have changed this: the former binds the EU to accede to the Convention while the latter formally permits it.

Although, the EU is independent from Council of Europe, they share purpose and ideas especially on rule of law, human rights and democracy. Further European Convention on Human Rights and European Social Charter, the source of law ofCharter of Fundamental Rights are created by Council of Europe. The EU also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. The EU opposes the death penalty and has proposed its worldwide abolition. Abolition of the death penalty is a condition for EU membership.[113]


The main legal acts of the EU come in three forms: regulations, directives, and decisions. Regulations become law in all member states the moment they come into force, without the requirement for any implementing measures,[k] and automatically override conflicting domestic provisions.[e] Directives require member states to achieve a certain result while leaving them discretion as to how to achieve the result. The details of how they are to be implemented are left to member states.[l] When the time limit for implementing directives passes, they may, under certain conditions, have direct effect in national law against member states.

Decisions offer an alternative to the two above modes of legislation. They are legal acts which only apply to specified individuals, companies or a particular member state. They are most often used in competition law, or on rulings on State Aid, but are also frequently used for procedural or administrative matters within the institutions. Regulations, directives, and decisions are of equal legal value and apply without any formal hierarchy.[114]

Area of freedom, security and justice

The borders inside the Schengen Area between Germany and Austria

Since the creation of the EU in 1993, it has developed its competencies in the area of freedom, security and justice, initially at an intergovernmental level and later by supranationalism. To this end, agencies have been established that co-ordinate associated actions: Europol for co-operation of police forces,[115] Eurojust for co-operation between prosecutors,[116] and Frontex for co-operation between border control authorities.[117] The EU also operates the Schengen Information System[16]which provides a common database for police and immigration authorities. This co-operation had to particularly be developed with the advent of open borders through the Schengen Agreement and the associated cross border crime.

Furthermore, the Union has legislated in areas such as extradition,[118] family law,[119] asylum law,[120] and criminal justice.[121] Prohibitions against sexual and nationality discrimination have a long standing in the treaties.[m] In more recent years, these have been supplemented by powers to legislate against discrimination based on race, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation.[n] By virtue of these powers, the EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in the work-place, age discrimination, and racial discrimination.[o]

Foreign relations

The EU participates in all G8 andG20 summits. (G20 summit in Seoul)

Foreign policy co-operation between member states dates from the establishment of the Community in 1957, when member states negotiated as a bloc in international trade negotiations under the Common Commercial policy.[122] Steps for a more wide ranging co-ordination in foreign relations began in 1970 with the establishment of European Political Cooperation which created an informal consultation process between member states with the aim of forming common foreign policies. It was not, however, until 1987 when European Political Cooperation was introduced on a formal basis by the Single European Act. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty.[123]

The aims of the CFSP are to promote both the EU’s own interests and those of theinternational community as a whole, including the furtherance of international co-operation, respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.[124] The CFSP requires unanimity among the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular issue. The unanimity and difficult issues treated under the CFSP sometimes lead to disagreements, such as those which occurred over the war in Iraq.[125]

The coordinator and representative of the CFSP within the EU is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who speaks on behalf of the EU in foreign policy and defence matters, and has the task of articulating the positions expressed by the member states on these fields of policy into a common alignment. The High Representative heads up the European External Action Service (EEAS), a unique EU department[126] that has been officially implemented and operational since 1 December 2010 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon.[127] The EEAS will serve as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union.[128]

Besides the emerging international policy of the European Union, the international influence of the EU is also felt throughenlargement. The perceived benefits of becoming a member of the EU act as an incentive for both political and economic reform in states wishing to fulfil the EU’s accession criteria, and are considered an important factor contributing to the reform of European formerly Communist countries.[129]:762 This influence on the internal affairs of other countries is generally referred to as “soft power“, as opposed to military “hard power”.[130]


The predecessors of the European Union were not devised as a military alliance because NATO was largely seen as appropriate and sufficient for defence purposes.[131] 22 EU members are members of NATO[132] while the remaining member states follow policies of neutrality.[133] The Western European Union, a military alliance with a mutual defence clause, was disbanded in 2010 as its role had been transferred to the EU.[134]

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the United Kingdom spent $61 billion on defence in 2014, placing it fifth in the world, while France spent $53 billion, the sixth largest.[135]Together, the UK and France account for approximately 40 per cent of EU’s defence budget and 50 per cent of its military capacity.[136] Both are officially recognisednuclear weapon states holding permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.

Following the Kosovo War in 1999, the European Council agreed that “the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and the readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO”. To that end, a number of efforts were made to increase the EU’s military capability, notably the Helsinki Headline Goal process. After much discussion, the most concrete result was the EU Battlegroups initiative, each of which is planned to be able to deploy quickly about 1500 personnel.[137]

EU forces have been deployed on peacekeeping missions from middle and northern Africa to the western Balkans and western Asia.[138] EU military operations are supported by a number of bodies, including the European Defence Agency,European Union Satellite Centre and the European Union Military Staff.[139] Frontex is an agency of the EU established to manage the cooperation between national border guards securing its external borders. It aims to detect and stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and terrorist infiltration. In December 2015 the European Commission presented its proposal for a new European Border and Coast Guard Agency having a stronger role and mandate along with national authorities for border management. In an EU consisting of 28 members, substantial security and defence co-operation is increasingly relying on collaboration among all member states.[140]

Humanitarian aid

Further information: ECHO (European Commission)

Collectively, the EU is the largest contributor of foreign aid in the world.[141] [142]

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, or “ECHO”, provides humanitarian aid from the EU to developing countries. In 2012, its budget amounted to €874 million, 51% of the budget went to Africa and 20% to Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific, and 20% to the Middle East and Mediterranean.[143]

Humanitarian aid is financed directly by the budget (70%) as part of the financial instruments for external action and also by the European Development Fund(30%).[144] The EU’s external action financing is divided into ‘geographic’ instruments and ‘thematic’ instruments.[144] The ‘geographic’ instruments provide aid through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI, €16.9 billion, 2007–2013), which must spend 95% of its budget on overseas development assistance(ODA), and from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which contains some relevant programmes.[144] The European Development Fund (EDF, €22.7 bn, 2008–2013) is made up of voluntary contributions by member states, but there is pressure to merge the EDF into the budget-financed instruments to encourage increased contributions to match the 0.7% target and allow the European Parliament greater oversight.[144]

However, five countries have reached the 0.7% target: Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom.[145][146] In 2011, EU aid was 0.42% of the EU’s GNI making it the world’s most generous aid donor.[147] The previous Commissioner for Aid, Louis Michel, has called for aid to be delivered more rapidly, to greater effect, and on humanitarian principles.[148]


The five largest economies in the world according to the IMF by nominal GDP in 2014.[149]

The European Union has established a single market across the territory of all its members representing 508 million citizens. In 2014, the EU had a combined GDP of 18.640 trillion international dollars, a 20% share ofglobal gross domestic product by purchasing power parity (PPP).[150] As a political entity the European Union is represented in the World Trade Organization (WTO). EU member states own the estimated largest net wealth in the world, equal to 30% of the $223 trillion global wealth.

GDP (in PPS) per inhabitant by NUTS 2 regions in 2013.

19 member states have joined a monetary union known as theeurozone, which uses the Euroas a single currency. The currency union represents 338 million EU citizens.[151] The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar.[152][153][154]

Of the top 500 largest corporations in the world measured by revenue in 2010, 161 have their headquarters in the EU.[155] In 2016, unemployment in the EU stood at 8.9%[156] while inflation was at 2.2%, and the current account balance at −0.9% of GDP.

There is a significant variance for GDP (PPP) per capita within individual EU states. The difference between the richest and poorest regions (276 NUTS-2 regions of theNomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) ranged, in 2014, from 30% of the EU28 average to 539%, or from €8,200 to €148,000 (about US$9,000 to US$162,000).[157]

Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds are supporting the development of underdeveloped regions of the EU. Such regions are primarily located in the states of central and southern Europe.[158][159] Several funds provide emergency aid, support for candidate members to transform their country to conform to the EU’s standard (Phare, ISPA, and SAPARD), and support to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). TACIS has now become part of the worldwide EuropeAid programme. EU research and technological framework programmes sponsor research conducted by consortia from all EU members to work towards a single European Research Area.[160]

Internal market

Main article: Internal market

A standardised passportdesign, displaying the name of the member state, the nationalarms and the words “European Union” given in their official language(s). (Irish model)

Two of the original core objectives of the European Economic Community were the development of a common market, subsequently renamed the single market, and acustoms union between its member states. The single market involves the free circulation of goods, capital, people, and services within the EU,[151] and the customs union involves the application of a common external tariff on all goods entering the market. Once goods have been admitted into the market they cannot be subjected to customs duties, discriminatory taxes or import quotas, as they travel internally. The non-EU member states of Iceland,Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland participate in the single market but not in the customs union.[59] Half the trade in the EU is covered by legislation harmonised by the EU.[161]

Free movement of capital is intended to permit movement of investments such as property purchases and buying of shares between countries.[162] Until the drive towards economic and monetary union the development of the capital provisions had been slow. Post-Maastricht there has been a rapidly developing corpus of ECJ judgements regarding this initially neglected freedom. The free movement of capital is unique insofar as it is granted equally to non-member states.

The free movement of persons means that EU citizens can move freely between member states to live, work, study or retire in another country. This required the lowering of administrative formalities and recognition of professional qualifications of other states.[163]

The free movement of services and of establishment allows self-employed persons to move between member states to provide services on a temporary or permanent basis. While services account for 60–70% of GDP, legislation in the area is not as developed as in other areas. This lacuna has been addressed by the recently passed Directive on services in the internal market which aims to liberalise the cross border provision of services.[164] According to the Treaty the provision of services is a residual freedom that only applies if no other freedom is being exercised.

Monetary union

The seat of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. 19 of the 28 EU member states have adopted the euro as theirlegal tender.

The creation of a