SINGLE MARKET BENEFITS BIAS: The second of World at One’s reports about how the EU operates was on Tuesday and focused on the EU budget. It was again presented by Professor Anand Menon, of King’s College, London, who, as pointed out yesterday, appears to be strongly pro-EU in his outlook. His approach was first to emphasise that, at around €9.8 billion, after rebates and income spent on the UK by the EU, the UK contribution was only a very small part of overall UK public spending of €800 billion a year. He then asserted that ‘you always need to remember’ that the economics of the EU ‘isn’t just about what we give it in terms of our contribution’ but should be viewed in terms of what the single market has brought to the UK. He then added that ‘most economists’ believed that the gains made by being a member of the single market ‘dwarf’ the amounts paid into the budget. His primary analysis was thus that the UK paid relatively little for membership, and the cost was far outweighed by the benefits of the single market. He conceded that ‘others’ thought the benefits of the single market were offset by the fact that ‘EU regulation costs us money’. But overall the thrust of his argument k was that any concern about the EU budget was largely misplaced; what counted were the incalculable benefits of the single market. Other analysts strongly disagree with Menon’s analysis. Michael Burrage, for example, in a paper for Civitas published in January, states in a searing critique of the alleged benefits of the single market, stated (p4 executive summary):
‘Thus the UK’s exports have grown and benefited least during the Single Market, while those of non-member OECD countries have grown and benefited most…There is no evidence that the Single Market programme has helped the exports of the UK or other founder member countries to other OECD countries.’
Menon’s analysis can thus be seen to be strongly pro-EU; he has pushed its benefits and glossed over the work of those who have a very different opinion. At the same time, he has not mentioned at all controversy about EU accounting, which has been a recurrent issue in other quarters for more than a decade.