Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Cameron's 6 'total untruths' being told by Vote Leave - Fact or Fiction?

Claims made by David Cameron at a press conference - 7 June 2016

"1 - They said we are liable to bail out Eurozone countries. Not true. My renegotiation means we are categorically not liable for Eurozone bailouts. It is there in black and white in the legally binding and irreversible negotiation deal."

Fact - the UK (along with all non-Eurozone EU countries) will not pay for future Eurozone bailouts. This has already been agreed by EU leaders. In addition, the UK-EU deal from February, which will be implemented if the UK votes to stay in the EU, reinforces this and states that the UK would be reimbursed if the general EU budget is used for the cost of the Eurozone crisis.

"2 - They said that our rebate, the money that we get back from the EU, is at risk. Again, not true. The British prime minister has a veto on changes to our rebate. Only a British Prime Minister could decide to give it up."

Fact - the rebate is not a permanent feature of EU membership, but the UK has a veto over the process to scrap or reduce it.

"3 - They said we’ve given up our ability to veto EU treaties. Again, not true. There’s absolutely nothing in the renegotiation that gives up our veto as a full member of the European Union."

Fact - since 1999, when legislative records first became available to the public in an accessible format, the UK has voted “no” to legislation on 57 occasions. It has voted “yes” 2,474 times and abstained 70 times. In other words, the UK has opposed just 2% of legislation.

"4 - They said we had no ability to stop overall EU spending from going up. Again, not true. The budget for the current period, 2014 to 2020, is set in stone and can only be changed with the consent of all countries, including the British Prime Minister. Again, it’s wrong to claim anything different, and by the way, the spending for this period is lower than in the last period because I negotiated a cut in the EU budget."

Fact - the EU budget has proven to be very hard to change, reflecting the fact that it requires unanimity among the member states, as well as striking a deal with the European Parliament. Indeed, since its last major reform in 1988, it is noteworthy that the main change has been a relative increase in spending on Cohesion Policy and a reduction in the CAP.

"5 - They said we were powerless to stop Britain being forced in to an EU army. Again, not true. We have a rock solid veto on EU foreign and defence policy initiatives. Even if it was proposed, we would veto it. Just like William Hague did when he vetoed the idea of a European HQ on defence policy."

Fact - EU member countries often work together on military matters, but the EU doesn't have its own military capabilities. Some European politicians support the creation of an EU army, but that would need unanimous approval. However, EU treaties do allow for “the progressive framing of a common defence policy that might lead to a common defence”.

"6 - They said we’d save £8bn if we left the EU. Again, not true – almost every credible economic organisation who’s looked at this has said that the economic shock of leaving Europe would cause a black hole in the public finances, and this would wipe out any saving that might be made. This black hole is estimated at between £20bn and £40bn. That is the scale of the damage that leaving would do to our ability to fund the NHS, our schools or our defences. Indeed, in an unprecedented intervention yesterday, the IFS – one of the most respected independent think tanks in our country – directly took on this falsehood from the Leave campaign. They said, and I quote: “leaving Europe would mean spending less on public services, or taxing more, or borrowing more”."

Fact - we would not have to make our current £8bn net contribution if we left.

Fiction - what the effect of leaving the EU will have on the UK's economy, no-one really knows.
Therefore any estimates made about those effects, are just that, estimates not facts! The claims made above are pure scare tactics, and nothing more.

Of course, as we know, the EU is an ever evolving organisation. What is "set in stone" today, may not necessarily be the case tomorrow. Thus, what may appear to be a "total untruth" today, may not be so tomorrow.


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