The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Saying No to the Single Market

Rejecting the EU's regulatory instrument

Dr Ruth Lea CBE
Barry Legg
Dr Andrew Lilico
Ian Milne
Professor David Myddelton
Professor Jean-Jacques Rosa




The political establishment now mainly defends our membership of the European Union on the grounds that to leave the Single Market would be a disaster for us economically.

On the 20th anniversary of the creation of the EU’s Single Market the Bruges Group hosted a conference to expose how membership of the customs union is hurting our economy and preventing Britain from competing on the world stage. The Single market is a regulatory instrument. It is not about freedom nor is it a free trade area. Indeed it is more of a red tape area.

Many of the burdens on British businesses come from the UK being politically subsumed within the EU’s Single Market. Yet too many opinion formers in both the media and politics mistakenly believe that exiting the EU will endanger British businesses selling goods and services to those on the Continent. The speakers that we hosted at our conference explained that the psychological dependence upon the Single Market is one of the major ways by which the EU runs affairs in this country.

The government’s strategy towards the EU is hamstrung by a mistaken belief that accepting the supremacy of EU law is a pre-requisite for trade with the EU. The Single Market is a Customs Union with the institutions of the European Union making regulations which govern businesses within it. There are no important customs unions anywhere else in the world.

EU membership is not a prerequisite for access to the Single Market. Switzerland and Norway which are outside of the EU, export more in relation to their GDPs and per capita than the UK does. Furthermore, both China and the USA each export more to the EU than the UK does and without having their economies burdened by costly EU regulation.

Click here to read the paper