web analytics


by Politicker 0 Comments

The creation of a single European economic area based on a Common Market was a fundamental objective of the Treaty of Rome.

Today, the EU is the largest economy in the world. It is the worlds biggest exporter of manufactured goods and has the worlds largest single market area of more than 500 million consumers.

The EU is responsible for the trade policy of its member countries and negotiates trade agreements, based on World Trade Organisation rules, on their behalf. This means that no individual member government can negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with a non-EU partner.

UK/EU Trading Feb 2016

by Politicker 0 Comments

The UK has strong trading links with countries in the EU. This makes the EU an important market for the UK and also makes the UK an important market for the EU.

I’ve used the latest Overseas Trade Statistics from February 2016 as a snapshot to understand the UKs trading position with the EU. These statistics show that the UK is a net importer of goods from the EU.

In February 2016, the UK exported goods to the EU worth £11.2bn and imported goods from the EU worth £19.4bn .

Overall, in February 2016, trade with Europe accounts for 46% of exports from the UK and 55% of the imports to the UK.

What is also apparent is that UK Trade exports are almost evenly split between the EU (46%) and non-EU countries (54%)

These monthly figures are within the ranges recorded over the last 18 months where the proportion of exports from the UK to the EU has been within the range from 38% to 48% and that of imports from the EU to the UK within the range from 51% to 55%

source: https://www.uktradeinfo.com a website managed by the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Trade Statistics unit

Overseas Trade Statistics

According to recent (provisional) figures from UKTradeInfo , a website managed by HM Revenue & Customs, the value of exports from the UK in February 2016 was £24.1 billion with imports of £35.2 billion resulting in the UK being a net importer of goods to the value of £11.1 billion.


These figures can be split between EU and non-EU countries

non-EU exports £12.9 billion
non-EU imports £15.8 billion

which indicates the UK to be a net importer of goods from non-EU countries with imports exceeding exports by £2.9 billion

EU exports £11.2 billion
EU imports £19.4 billion

which indicates the UK to be a net importer of goods from the EU with imports exceeding exports by £8.2 billion

The figures also show that in February 2016, the proportion of exports to the EU was %46 (54% non-EU), with imports of 55% (45% non-EU).

Other figures from the HM Revenue and Customs web-site indicate that over the last 18 months the proportion of exports to the EU has been within the range from 38% to 48% and that of imports within the range from 51% to 55%

Top 5 Partners trading with the UK (Feb 2016)
Exports from the UK
  1. USA £3.5bn
  2. Germany £2.8bn
  3. France £1.5bn
  4. Netherlands £1.3bn
  5. Republic of Ireland £1.3bn
Imports to the UK
  1. Germany £5.3bn
  2. China £2.9bn
  3. USA £2.9bn
  4. Netherlands £2.9bn
  5. France £2.3bn

A summary of the UK Overseas Trade Statistic (OTS) for Febrary 2016 is available at


There also breakdowns of the actual goods being imported and exported available from the page


Quick Facts about the EU

Where can I find statistics about the EU?


How many languages are used in the EU?

The EU has 24 official languages.

Where does the EU hold its meetings?

The European Commission is mainly based in Brussels and Luxembourg.

The European Parliament holds its Committee meetings in Brussels and its plenary sessions in Brussels and Strasbourg. Administration is located in Luxembourg.

The Council buildings are in Brussels, where most of its meetings also take place. Occasionally meetings of the Council of the European Union are held in Luxembourg. Meetings between the heads of state and governments – the European Council – take place in Brussels.

How many people are employed by the EU?

There are 55,000 civil servants employed by the EU.

What are the EU Administration costs?

The EU spends around 6% of its annual budget on staff, administration and maintenance of its buildings.

What is the total population of the EU?

The total population of all 28 countries in the EU, on 1st January 2015 was 508,450,856

(Figures from Eurostat)

What is Europe Day?

On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister at the time, gave a memorable speech making the case for a new model of political and economic cooperation for Europe. Each year, the EU institutions celebrate this by organising activities on or near 9th May, the anniversary date of the Schuman Declaration.

What are the EU Treaties

The EU treaties are binding agreements between EU member countries. They set out EU objectives, rules for EU institutions, how decisions are made and the relationship between the EU and its member countries. Every action taken by the EU is founded on treaties.

Treaties are amended to make the EU more efficient and transparent, prepare for new member countries and introduce new areas of cooperation.

Copies of the treaties can be viewed online at


and a copy of the consolidated treaties (pdf) can be downloaded from



by Politicker 0 Comments

This section records interesting historical items related to the UK membership of the European Economic Community, Common Market and the European Union

The 1975 Common Market Referendum

by Politicker 0 Comments

The Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath took the UK into the European Economic Community (EEC) in January 1973 after membership had been blocked on 2 previous occasions (vetoed in 1961 and 1969 by Charles de Gaulle). This brought the total number of members to 9 with Ireland and Denmark joining at the same time.

In 1975, the Labour prime Minister, Harold Wilson called a referendum for the public to decide whether the UK should remain as members of the EEC.

The question on the ballot paper was

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

The referendum was held on 5 June 1975.

There was a turnout of 64.03% from a registered electorate of 40,456,877.

67.2% voted in favour of staying in the EEC and 32.8% voted against.

More information can be found at the House of Commons Library in a briefing paper prepared in July 2015 The 1974-75 UK Renegotiation of EEC Membership and Referendum.

Referendum Campaign

The Keep Britain in Europe campaign had the support of all the major political parties although Government ministers were allowed the freedom to differ from the party line and follow their consciences.

3 pamphlets were distributed to households in the UK one from the Government (in favour of remaining), one from the Yes campaign (in favour of remaining) and 1 from the No campaign (in favour of leaving).

Copies of the text used in these documents can be found at:

Government recommendation in Britain’s New Deal in Europe

Britain in Europe campaign Referendum on the European Community (Common Market) Why you should vote YES

No campaign Referendum on the European Community (Common Market) Why you should vote NO.

The Conservative party also produced a separate guide calling for the UK to remain in the EEC.

Yes to Europe: The Conservative Guide for the 1975 Referendum Campaign

Copies of the actual original pamphlets are reproduced at The 1975 Common Market Referendum Campaign Documents