EU myth-busting

The EU referendum campaign has been wracked by overblown assumptions, scaremongering statements and unsubstantiated claims.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 6:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:42 pm

But ahead of the June 23 poll, we busted ten myths and misunderstandings which have perpetuated by the various sides of the argument.

So without any more ado...

The EU imposes laws on the straightness of bananas

A long-running myth. The bloc sets no binding regulation on the sale of bananas. There has never been a ban on bananas with “abnormal curvature”.

The EU is a sprawling bureaucracy

The European Commission and European Parliament employ roughly the same number of people as a mid-size UK council between them. Six per cent of the EU’s budget is spent on staff, administration and maintenance.

There is a £20billion hole in the EU’s finances

The EU owes £19.4billion in payments agreed in the past to support poorer regions. The UK will contribute £2.4billion towards the money owed.

Net EU migration is at the highest level on record

In 2015, 270,000 citizens from other EU countries immigrated to the UK, and 85,000 emigrated abroad. ‘Net migration’ was around 185,000 – roughly the highest recorded level.

Thanks to the EU, workers in the UK are entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday

The EU minimum is 20 days. The British government increased the legal minimum to 28 days in the UK to include bank holidays.

10 per cent of workers working in the UK are from the EU

Doctors from the European Economic Area (the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) have long made up a significant proportion of the UK’s medical workforce.

The EU costs the UK £350million per week

The figure used by Vote Leave does not include a rebate or discount on what the UK has to pay. It also does not take into account how much money the UK receives from the EU.

European countries that are not in the EU can still trade with the EU

Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, is one of the EU’s most important trading partners.

EU law overrides UK law

EU laws in areas for which the EU is responsible override any conflicting laws in member countries.

Turkey will join the EU very soon

In order for a country to be eligible to join the EU, negotiations must be completed in 35 “chapters”. So far, Turkey has only completed one chapter since 2006.