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Basics: Economy, migration, sovereignty

Video by Anthony Salamone (The University of Edinburgh) reviewing the central themes of the EU referendum - the economy, migration and sovereignty.
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The campaign period for the UK’s EU referendum officially began on 15 April 2016. Unofficially, campaigning has been ongoing for a number of months. Many issues have been raised by different sides and various campaign groups. However, three topics have been particularly prominent in the referendum debate - the economy, migration and sovereignty. On the economy, the debate has raised
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a number of questions, such as: Does the Single Market benefit the UK or not? Do EU regulations for the Single Market help or hinder UK business? How much can or should the UK trade with the rest of Europe versus the rest of the world? Different figures have been suggested for how much people in the UK would be affected financially in the event of either outcome. However, it is very difficult to accurately assess this without all of the details, which would only really be available after the referendum. On migration, the debate has focused on the movement of EU citizens to the UK,
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featuring questions such as: Is the level of migration of EU citizens into the UK too high? What impact do EU citizens have on taxes and public services in the UK? What migration policies can the UK have inside the EU or outside the EU? As part of the Single Market, EU citizens are currently allowed to come to the UK to work, look for work, study, retire or otherwise live supporting themselves with their own means. The migration of non-EU citizens (also called third-country nationals) is generally governed by UK law. Certain Commonwealth citizens, for instance, have additional rights to come to the UK. On sovereignty, the debate has centred on the role of UK and EU institutions,
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bringing up such questions as: Does the EU constrain or enhance the UK’s ability to influence the world? Does the UK benefit sufficiently from the political authority it has vested in the EU? Do UK institutions, such as the UK Parliament, have sufficient say over life in the UK, or do EU institutions have too much power? The set-up of the European Union has always involved countries combining their sovereignty to pursue common policies to some extent. The question has become whether the current balance is right for the UK. Sovereignty itself can be quite difficult to quantify. In today’s world, many outside factors can influence the effective power that a country has to act in different fields.
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Each side of the referendum campaign has concentrated on the issues which it thinks are likely to be more effective in producing their favoured outcomes. In large part, the ‘Remain’ campaign side has focused on the economy, while the ‘Leave’ campaign side has focused on migration and sovereignty. These are only some of the many questions surrounding the referendum debate. In theory, David Cameron’s EU renegotiation was designed to address some of the concerns raised about the UK’s relationship with the EU. However, it is up to voters as to whether his renegotiation was a success or whether it makes a difference to the case for staying in or leaving the EU.
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It’s not even clear that the renegotiation has been particularly influential in the debate. The questions around the EU referendum do not have definite, ‘right’ answers. It is up to voters to make their own judgements on the issues and to decide whether they think the UK should remain in the EU or leave the EU.
What are the central themes of the EU referendum debate? Anthony Salamone reviews the campaign topics.
(Video/Design by Tim Askew. Voice/Script by Anthony Salamone.)
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