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UK will be reduced to a ‘five per cent shareholder’ after a vote to remain, says Grayling

Civitas, 27 April 2016

Britain’s voice in the European Union will be reduced to that of a ‘five per cent shareholder’ if it votes to remain in the forthcoming referendum, Cabinet minister Chris Grayling said today.

Speaking to a Civitas seminar, the Leader of the House of Commons warned that the continued integration of the eurozone nations would leave the UK standing on the sidelines in Brussels asking ‘what about us?’

‘People on June 23rd are not voting on the European Union as it is today. They are voting to be part of the EU that is going to reform but not in the way we keep hearing about in this campaign,’ Mr Grayling said.

The eurozone will have to keep integrating and harmonising further in the years ahead to stave off the collapse of the European single currency, he argued. With only Britain and Denmark not obliged to join the euro, the influence of non-eurozone nations would therefore be marginalised within the institutions of the EU.

‘They will take decisions in the interests of their emerging federation. It’s human nature. If you are trying to build something, which they have to do, if you are trying to harmonise things, which they have to do, the decisions they take will be in the interests of themselves because that’s human nature, Mr Grayling said.

‘We may stand on the sidelines ‘saying what about us?’ We may stand and say ‘we don’t like that’. But ultimately we don’t have a say.

‘It’s going to be like being a five per cent shareholder in an organisation where someone else has 95 per cent of the shares. You have a seat at the table but actually someone else controls it and your say is little or nothing.

‘And as they move down the road, they harmonise and become more of a single bloc, more of a single government, inevitably they will have more of a single view and it will be little us versus them taking all the decisions.’

This process represents the ‘inevitable consequence’ of the creation of the euro, he added.

‘You cannot have a currency union without a political union. If they don’t unify and move towards much greater harmonisation it is difficult to see how the eurozone can survive. But the euro has to survive because the decision they have taken is irrevocable.

‘They have started on a path from which there is no escape without massive economic collapse. If the eurozone fell apart the ripples would be felt around the world. They cannot let that happen. They have to sustain the eurozone, that’s why they have pulled out so many stops as they have.

‘They know this is something that cannot be allowed to take a step backwards. And so we will see over the next few years a steady stream of measures towards integration.’

Chris Grayling was speaking at a lunchtime seminar at Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society on Wednesday, April 27th.

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